Each fall we plant a few more bulbs of hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and other glorious buds that will explode come spring into a colorful floral splendor.
We will wait patiently as these buds, in the darkness of the soil, prepare to emerge. They will slowly wake the brown, dormant landscape as we anxiously prepare to bid adieu to the winter season.
The bulbs will grow where we’ve chosen to plant them, making a splash of color where we expect them to pop up from the earth below. Of course, in our busyness and IF we are organized, we will have marked the basic location so we remember where we dug into the soil and carefully plotted and planted them.
They will bloom where they are planted.
As we say farewell to the end of the fall season, we scatter our pumpkins and gourds throughout our yard to see what possible growth will burgeon the following harvest season.
Sometimes for giggles, we may actually just TOSS these slightly mushy and moldy pumpkins out into the yard and see where they land. They’ve been kind to us donning our outdoor spaces with touches of the autumn season.
Given this, it may seem like cruel or unusual practice to throw the old pumpkins, or It’s just plain fun to test our strength and see where they land!
Either point of view, it serves several purposes in our home.
It’s hospitality — a love language for me — at its finest for the wildlife and as they have been seen feasting on the remnants of our stash storing away seeds for the upcoming winter season. This is true at least until the tossed pumpkins rot in the warm autumn sun or freeze over when we have a cold snap or early snow. You never know with our fickle fall weather.
Throwing or scattering the pumpkins allows us to dispose of the worn-out bounty. Dressing them with pine cones and mistletoe does not make the cut for Christmas decorations nor does just tossing them in the trash.
If we are lucky, when we throw them, we are given a volunteer crop for the next fall season. In gardening and botany, “volunteer crops” are plants or flowers that often just show up unexpectedly, and grow on their own. Sometimes tossing them allow seeds to decompose in the soil where they land. Sometimes the seeds are carried by the wind or birds or squirrels stashing away seeds for the less bountiful winter. We really do not know for sure how they get there. The thing that makes these volunteers crops so unique is they just bloom and grow on their own.
They bloom where they land.
The pay off for our patience in watching these vines reach and stretch is rewarded with a gift – bringing to life a whole crop of pumpkins or squash we did not expect. One year we had placed a few Tonda Pandana pumpkins in the back corner of our yard, but the vines found there way across our back walkway leaving us with about 20 of these for the season.
It’s always a fun surprise to see when these beautiful pumpkin vines begin to stretch across the garden or tucked away somewhere in the yard (or taking up residence in our glorious Limelight Hydrangea Bush this year). It leaves us curious about what gift will grow. Because even though it is not where it was planted, rest assured at some point there will be growth — a pumpkin, a squash, gourds, never mind the tomatoes plants and cherry tomatoes that show off each year and grow on their own.
While it’s cliche, I know, “Bloom where you are planted,” always rings in my head throughout the summer as I weed, water and tend my garden all spring and summer long. We could say it’s my ode to the flowers, vegetables, and plants.
“Bloom, where you are planted!”
Recently, in honor of our repurposed fall live decorations. That we often toss into the yard, could not help but want to add the second stanza to my ode.
“Bloom where you land!”
Sometimes, we are PLANTED.
Sometimes we just LAND.
Like the pumpkins, life can cause us to be tossed about, scattered without expectation, and we still come out blooming and growing and spreading gifts in places we did not expect.
Pause and think about that.
Sometimes we are PLANTED. Arriving where we expect to be and we do the work of blooming and growing. And when the season is over, we show our beautiful glory.
Sometimes we just LAND. Again arriving, but not necessarily where we expect to land to be rooted. And we still bloom and grow. But this time it happens with little expectation and great anticipation of what is to come.
We land like these volunteer pumpkins because unlike our play “throw” life more harshly can toss us into the air and scatter us, we wait to land and find a new place for abundant, unexpected growth.
Like a pumpkin vine slowly spreading, grasping, adjusting, growing, we can find ourselves holding close to the ground. In this new place, we are trying to take root and grow. Trying to grow in a place that was not part of the plan.
We search and reach.
Like the curling tendrils, we grab on for dear life. If we find something is in the way of its path to growth, we search for another way. We and stretch, climb up or around and holding on to places where we can.
We learn just like the pumpkin that we throw out to pasture even though it’s not actually WHERE you are PLANTED, but WHERE you LAND, you CAN and DO still BLOOM and GROW.
It is a reminder that we may find ourselves in places where we may not necessarily expect or want to be, maybe at the hand of circumstances we do not always understand – it is just where we are forced to land.
It helps to hold tight to the knowledge that the Master Gardener has had His hand in where we are planted or where we land. Some of the most holy work occurs deep below surface down in the soil. Some of our best work has been happening in the darkest and most unexpected condition beneath the surface before we can see the light.
When we embrace the landscape where we take root and land, we may find a bountiful harvest of pumpkins or arrive at a serendipitous moment proudly introducing a beautiful bloom that is beginning to grow in a new season.
In the words of St. Francis de Sales, “Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.”
Bloom where you are planted.
Grow where you land.