Weeds in My Flowerbed and What They Taught Me

“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.”~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Wisdom has a way of hiding in the ordinary. I don’t remember a time in my life when wisdom showed up in a fancy outfit. It’s true that the Bible tells us wisdom is more precious than rubies but I have found she usually shows up in work clothes. On her knees, pulling weeds.

There is a classic story about a pastor who was out for a drive and came upon a farm he admired greatly. He stopped and motioned the farmer to come over to his car. The fellow climbed off his tractor obligingly and walked over to greet the Reverend. The preacher said to him, “My good man, God has certainly blessed you with a magnificent farm.” And then, there was a pause as the farmer took off his cap and scratched his head. “Yes, He has, and we’re sure grateful. But you should have seen this place when He had it all to Himself.”

Weeds can teach us wisdom

Agriculture and gardening are rich in metaphors for life. Both teach us hard work, patience, persistence and to roll with the punches when there’s a hail storm. Sometimes we’re forced to start over. In my case, it wasn’t hailstones that caused the setback, it was softballs and baseballs. You see we have six grandkids and five of them play softball or baseball. For several weeks during the growing season, I abandon my garden gloves, dandelion digger and kneeling pad for stadium seats and bleachers.

We’ve arrived at the end of the ball season. The tournaments and all star games are in the books. It’s time for me to show the pesky spurge, bindweed, foxtails and water grass who is boss! The daisies have gone all leggy and brown, the rhubarb has bolted and the scoreboard shows weeds in the lead and ground cover losing ground!

Four lessons I learned. Weed ’em and Reap

  1. Everything looks great in April and May! Flowers look all fresh and bright as they bob their lovely heads in the breeze. It all seems so easy but don’t be fooled! The weeds are plotting a comeback. Lesson: youth is a gift but it’s fleeting.
  2. It’s much easier to grow weeds than flowers. They take no care, less water and they thrive in bad conditions. Lesson: ugly thoughts are like brain weeds. We have to keep pulling them out while we nurture the beautiful ones!
  3. It’s a constant process. I don’t like to use the term battle, I’d rather say cultivate. Whether we are cultivating a friendship, marriage or our work we must spend time and energy on it every single day. Lesson: we get results where we put our attention.
  4. Every season has its special beauty. Over the growing season, different things reach their peak at different times. Learn to recognize the qualities of each. The garden has distinctly different seasons. Lesson: Be ready for the gifts of each season, youth, maturity and our later years. Each brings us the opportunity to bloom.

“I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden.”~John Erskine!

It’s incredible what we can learn from the simplest chores of living and caring for our home and family when we allow ourselves to tune into the moment. I’d love to hear about the insights you’ve discovered when you meet wisdom in the everyday.

Be amazed!

See you Thursday.



  • Gail

    “Cultivate” – a wonderful word. Here in Austria, many “weeds” that grow are often very useful plants. Wild strawberry leaves make a wonderful tea, others add important bitter vitamins needed for health. Depends how you look at them, I guess. Thank you for writing with your insights and experiences!

    • Betty Streff

      Nebraska is a bit more harsh but you make a good point! “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
      Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Patricia A. Johnson

    This Saturday I spent the day with my Son who will be a first year teacher come this August. I’ve spent many years cultivating this young man, teaching him to be a compassionate, strong, honest, hard working individual. As we moved throughout the day I was watching him as he was checking prices and comparing the items he wanted to purchase. I then realized that these qualities that the world appreciates in him are the very soil that I planted him in. I pulled the weeds that would seek to overtake him, I kept the ground watered and fed to assure the strength of his roots to his limbs. He was shown that the sky is the limit and the sun and moon are not his limits for he can reach as high as he is willing to work for. I am proud of the tree that I planted and he is an extension of me and will make a difference in this world and as the Mother and gardener I couldn’t ask for more.
    Blessed Be

    • Betty Streff

      What a wonderful day you had! You are justifiably proud of the young Nan you raised! It is a precious gift to receive as we move into the “third third” of our life! Way to go mom!

Leave a Comment or Question