How a little light and warmth encouraged growth in a dark, cold garden shed.
Posted in , Apr 25, 2019
A funny thing happened about a month ago when I opened the double doors of a small storage area in the back of my house where I keep my garden supplies during the long New England winter. There, on top of a tower of dirt-filled pots, was a flash of green, topped with two of the most unlikely frilly pink flowers you’ve ever seen.
A quick examination revealed that, in fact, this was a living, growing plant, with no explanation to account for its existence.
How was this possible? The unheated space had been sealed up all winter, save for the times we opened the doors to pull out snow shovels, salt or sleds. It was still cold outside. And hadn’t I removed all growth from my plants before storing the pots last fall?
Could this be one of those garden miracles I’ve read about?
Once I caught my breath, I looked around and discovered something approaching a plausible explanation—there are small glass panes along the top of the double doors, and it’s possible that a ray of sun beamed directly on that pot, giving it just enough light and warmth to enable it to inhabit its own personal greenhouse.
In the weeks since, I’ve slowly been bringing my pots outside to warm them up and get them ready for planting. My “miracle plant” has dropped its flowers, but it is still lovely, green and alive. And while I’m not sure a miracle was at work in my shed this winter, I am also no less in awe of the lessons this wonderful plant has to teach.
For one thing, I am moved by the happenstance of the whole thing. Had I started to stack my pots six inches to the left or right of that spot, the plant might not have gotten that narrow beam of light. Had I pulled out the roots of the plant instead of cutting back the greenery in late fall, there would have been nothing but dirt in that pot. Who knows what other happy accidents my seemingly inadvertent actions might yield?
But there’s something else that inspires me about this—just how little light and warmth it took for this plant to move forward, grow and flower. I’m not saying we should be stingy with love and kindness and all the other bright, warming things we do for ourselves and others. But isn’t it comforting to consider that just a drop of sunshine can enliven and awaken a day, a place, a life?
When it comes to positivity, a little goes a long way. Just ask my little miracle plant.