Like a climbing plant or vine, we all need encouragement to reach toward the sunlight of life.
I’ve written before about my abiding love of growing peas in the garden. A few weeks after I tucked those tiny seeds into the soil, I’m happy to report my plants are now between three and four feet tall and are weaving themselves up a grid-like trellis I made using garden twine and two anchor poles.
A few feet away, in a big patio pot, I have another long and winding plant—a vibrant pink and white mandevilla I have up against a short wooden trellis I recently painted in cheerful blue and yellow.
I have long believed the garden is full of life lessons, and this year these two climbing plants have been the source of something I needed to re-learn. You see, I’ve set both plants up for success with my carefully placed trellises, ample water and sunny locations. But if I skip a day of checking in on them, instead of beautifully vertical, splayed tendrils, I am confronted with a tangled mess of stem, leaf and blossom.
It’s a reminder that these plants are wild. They will attach to anything they can hold onto—even if that turns out to be a section of their own vine. Doubled back on themselves, they’re still growing, but they’re not quite at their best.
So I’ve incorporated an activity into my daily garden routine—I trace each plant’s vine and gently wind its trailing end around the trellis or twine to ease it toward growing in the right direction. Encouraging it to hold onto its most dependable support will help it get maximum sunlight and rain. In these optimal conditions, the plants will grow to be their best selves.
In the course of this daily ritual, I’ve also found I must be very gentle with the plants, taking care not to accidentally snap off a tender end in pursuit of a solid attachment.
And so yet again, the garden guides me down my positive path. I am inspired to encourage myself—and others around me—to cleave to the strong, reliable places that will bring about the healthiest growth and progress. May we not cling too tightly to our supports, but may we be surrounded by those who can remind us to hold on to what matters.