Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Why we can't grow albino beans

Remember my moodling about the little albino bean last week? Well, here's my update, sooner than I'd hoped.

It seems that albino fava beans are, as my kids say, "not a thing." Lacking chlorophyll, they can't photosynthesize the necessary energy from the sun to flourish and reproduce. So the plant that you see in the picture to the right was pretty much at its peak. Since then, all the plants around it have grown taller and thicker in the stems, but this one stopped growing, its leaves are looking burnt, and my little curiosity of a plant is not going to last much longer.
I can't recall whether the bean I planted looked different from all the other beans I pressed into the soil that day. It would be interesting to grow a whole garden box of white bean plants if their survival were possible. I wonder why albino beans grow at all if they live for such a short time, but I guess there are lots of other things and people that only live for short periods before they die, and we have to trust that the Creator who makes everything knows why. All I know is that I took some delight and interest in this one little plant as it came up, and I'm sorry to see it go.

Have you ever grown an interesting plant quite by accident? I'd love to hear about it if you feel like leaving a comment.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sunday Reflection on a Monday: A gardener God

Today's reflection brought to you by
Ezekiel 17:22-24.

We are your creation,
O God,
and you are the Master Gardener.

Starting noble cedars from tender sprigs
is only one of your specialties.

Making mustard seeds flourish
is not impossible for you.

In this season of sunshine,
and growth,
it's so easy to take life for granted.

But none of it,
none of us,
exist without you.

As Master Gardener,
you tend to our care unobtrusively.

Most of the time,
we don't even notice your ministrations.

But the pruning of our egos can be painful.

When you call us to let go of our certainties
and become open to new ideas and new life,
our lives expand
and our meagre minds stretch
in directions we never expected.


We do not go willingly into any kind of pruning or suffering,
so you sent Jesus to show us how.

Thank you,
Master Gardener,
for your wonderful creation,
and for creating us.

Help us to humbly accept
our prunings and replantings
so that we tender sprigs may become
your noble cedars.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

One of these things is not like the others

Ever heard of an albino bean plant? Me neither. But one is growing among my regular, ordinary fava beans.

I went searching for info on the internet, and discovered that albinism happens in the plant kingdom, just as with animals and humans. It's rare, and one of the sources I found said that "albiflora" plants sometimes steal nutrients from like plants nearby because, lacking chlorophyll, they can't produce their own. Apparently, they rarely produce anything, so I shouldn't expect to harvest albino fava beans for planting next year. This one will just be interesting to watch.

Other folks on the internet who have grown albino bean plants have posted early pictures like this and haven't shared what happened to their plants in the long term, so I'll try to keep you posted on the life cycle of this one. Nature is full of surprises, wouldn't you agree?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday Reflection: An almost summer psalm

This reflection brought to you by
2 Corinthians 4:18.

Your love encircles us,
O God,
but so often we don't see it.

But your passion for your people
is visible in sunbeams and rainstorms.

You surround us
with fragrant lilacs and roses,
and myriad blossoms of every colour
beyond our wildest dreams.

Your abundant new life
sings from every branch of every tree
and from the tiny peepings in birdhouses,
lifting our hearts.

The clouds display your majesty,
and the bumblebees,
your steadfastness.

Small shoots proclaim potential,
and full-blooming trees,

Golden dawns,
pink sunsets,
and starry nights
declare your artistry,
as flowing water and gentle breezes
offer your caress.

If we look not [only] at what can be seen
but at what cannot be seen,
for what can be seen is temporary,
but what cannot be seen is eternal
-- your presence in all things --
there we find your overarching love for us
in all that you have made
-- if only we choose to see it.

You are to be praised and blessed
beyond all that you have made!
When we appreciate and protect
your creation,
your blessings flow like a river.

Thank you, God, for everything!
Help us to love and appreciate all that you have made
as you do.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The pampered weed

When I started my herbs in the greenhouse earlier this spring, one of my little cilantro pots didn't grow cilantro. It grew something else that looked a lot like the Sweet William I planted last year. So I let it grow, watered it faithfully,  spoke words of encouragement to it, and waited to see what it might be.

Just before I planted my annuals two weeks ago, it sent up a shoot that suggested that it might be thinking about flowering. So when I put out my lavatera, marigolds, snapdragons and pansies, I found a special spot for my little anonymous plant and carefully planted and watered it, too.

Today, it bloomed, and I realized that it's not a Sweet William. It's something I've always considered to be a weed, but I finally looked it up and found out it is called willow-herb, which is related to fireweed. It spreads itself freely and loves the loose soil in gardens. Used medicinally, it's supposed to be helpful with acne treatment. Who knew?

The little pink flowers are so tiny that it's hard to get a clear picture of them, and I can't imagine what kind of insect might pollinate them. Having spent so much time looking after my weedy little friend, I'm rather loathe to pull it up. But I've let other pretty weeds go because I thought they were attractive, and they've taken over! I'm still working on ridding my yard of vetch, creeping charlie, and yellow wood sorrel. So do I really want to have to work on willow-herb eradication too?

Maybe I will pick the stalk after it's flowered a little more, put it in a vase, and set it on my desk. After all, my little weed and I go back a long way.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Sunday Reflection on a Monday: We are all one body

I found myself short of time and words for moodling yesterday, Corpus Christi Sunday, but this morning during centering prayer, so many words came to me about how every person on our planet is part of one body, God's presence in the world, through our many faiths. Faith means that we believe in beauty, goodness and truth, though we express our belief in God in so many different ways. And I can't help but feel that we really need to pray together more often, in spite of our differences.

This coming Sunday, there's a perfect opportunity for people of different faiths to pray together for peace. Our Southside Taizé Musicians group and the community of the Sai Baba Centre on Whyte Avenue are joining together in a Prayer for Peace, inviting people of all faiths. If you are in the vicinity, I hope you will join us for silent meditation followed by two peace chants and refreshments. Perhaps our combined prayer will help with the peace process with North Korea, or give some respite to other places of conflict. One never knows how prayer is answered.

Our prayer this Sunday is inspired by the brothers of the Taizé community, who gather every Sunday evening with the young pilgrims who come to them from around the world. All sit in silent meditation for a time, and at the end, the brothers lead a simple prayer-song for peace. It is one of the most powerful prayer experiences I have ever had, and it is what we will do on Sunday with everyone who gathers with us.

Humanity's body has been divided into factions for too long. It's time to become aware of our oneness and to lift our hearts and souls to the God who makes us one, to pray for peace among all.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

After a good rain

I love this time of year, when the garden is just planted, and evertyhing looks so orderly. We've just had a good rain, so give it a week, and the zillions of elm seeds and other weeds will begin to appear. For now, though, I'm enjoying the tidiness of plants coming through the soil, and the sense of potential at the beginning of "the wet garden, sprung in completeness where God's feet pass," as Eleanor Farjeon says in her song, Morning Has Broken.