This summer, I’ve learned a lot about my favorite pastime, perennial gardening, watching a YouTube channel called Garden Answer. The channel’s cheerful host and gardener extraordinaire, Laura, gives practical advice about gardening in every season.
This week, I watched many of Laura’s videos on pruning. Come to find out, different perennials require different levels of pruning to flourish; and, depending upon the time of year, the same plant even can be pruned to varying degrees.
Some plants should be cut nearly to the ground in late fall or early spring, to encourage strong new growth. Others should only be sheared lightly, after flowering, to encourage a second flush of blooms later in the season. Some do best with deadheading, removing spent blooms individually.
Roses are an example of a plant which may be pruned using all of those methods. Should you wish, a rose bush can be cut far back in spring, pruned later on in the season to preserve its shape, and deadheaded after blooming.
With my new knowledge, I’ve felt empowered to prune my own plants so that they will perform their best!
A number of passages of Scripture speak of God as a husbandman or gardener upon whom we must rely, and I appreciate the metaphor all the more now.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. – John 15:1, 2
That passage speaks of the necessity of abiding in Christ, that we may be able to withstand the Father’s pruning and bear the fruit of the Spirit, and in doing so, glorify God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22, 23
I like to think that God also prunes us – and our lives – to varying degrees. At times, he seems to cut away, all at once, so much that we want or think we need; and in the end, these things prove to be dead wood holding us back from growing stronger.
At other times, he trims a little here and there, reshaping our lives so gently and subtly that we only recognize it in hindsight.
However he prunes us, God desires the best for us: to make us more like him.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. – Romans 8:28, 29
Has God pruned anything from your life? I know he has from mine!