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  • ninacrutchfield

Sometimes we need pruning

This spring and summer we were so blessed to have a bumper crop of strawberries. We have consumed the fresh, sweet, and juicy taste of heaven standing in the garden, added to salads, and made freezer jam. Every time I picked a berry I thought of our dear friend who brought us the flat of plant slips last fall. My husband planted the flat of heavenly goodness in the only raised beds we had open and entirely too close together. I thought the tight spacing would reduce the yield but I was wrong.

It has been a number of years since we grew strawberries and I had forgotten how prolific new plants can be. We enjoyed the fruit from March through June. Somewhat a bit miraculous considering they should have stopped bearing fruit by May in our area. Our friend's gift gave way more than anticipated. This really is the best kind of gift, is it not?

This morning, taking advantage of a cool summer weather pattern, I decided it was time to thin, prune, and transplant the plants that had grown together and were looking less than healthy. I meticulously worked through the dried leaves, expired fruit branches, and reproductive runners to find the heart of the original plant slips.

I had to use my pruning shears to sever the tie between the mother plant and the offspring. The hand trowel was effective in loosening the soil and pruning the roots so I could move the plants to the new location.

Most gardeners would be aghast at the idea of doing this in the height of summer. Yes, I will have to tend both beds carefully during the following weeks to ensure neither sets of plants dry out, giving them a shot at making it through the winter. But the efforts are so worth it.

As I worked, the Holy Spirit spoke questions into my heart.

How is it I am reminded of our friend so often by his gift but I fail to be mindful of God in the same way?

Have I followed my friend's example, sharing my abundance with others?

How am I cultivating my relationship with God so I can feast in the future?

What are my dead leaves?

Are my roots holding fast in fertile soil?

How can I share my gifts, multiplying God's efforts through me?

I did not finish my work in the strawberry beds, nor answer God's questions. Both will be there next weekend. As my husband reminds me, it all doesn't have to be done today, sometimes pacing yourself yields even sweeter fruit.

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