Change is inevitable. Stay grounded.

The garden changes rapidly in the month of June. We plant in May, and as the weather warms in June with long days of sunshine, change comes at us fast. The tomato plants and cucumbers grow in leaps and bounds. The roses and perennials bloom with abandon. The weeds grow quickly too. One tree that blooms in June and is tough adjusting to change and blooming where it’s planted is the Kousa Dogwood. Dogwood trees have delicate beauty, but this tree has a toughness that makes it a dependable June bloomer. No matter the season, it “stands its ground” and makes a contribution to the landscape. In spring, it produces a gorgeous array of star-like blooms. In summer, it’s layered canopy of branches and foliage provides cooling shade and beauty. In fall it provides great foliage color and berries for decor and wildlife. In winter the tree has an appeal all its own with bark that resembles a jigsaw puzzle.

Kousa Dogwood in bloom (photo taken by Rick Vuyst)


 The white “flower petals” aren’t actually petals at all. They are modified leaves called bracts that surround the small, greenish-yellow, insignificant flowers.

It brings up the subject that things aren’t always what they seem. I tell this joke to prove my point.

I climbed the ladder carrying a heavy bundle of shingles to the roof of a barn my Dad and I were re-roofing. I planted one foot on the roof and the other on the top rung of the ladder for momentum and regrettably pushed off. I ended up on the roof and the old ladder ended up in pieces on the ground. My Dad and I looked at each other without a word and understood further steps would have to be taken. We were now stuck on the roof. After a moment of silence my Dad said, “let me search this side of the roof and you search the other for a creative way down”. As luck would have it I found a way down and was soon on the ground looking up at my Dad on the roof. I yelled up to my Dad that there was a large manure pile on the other side of the barn. My Dad asked me how far I had sunk jumping into the pile. I said, “I sank to my ankles”. With the ladder now broken on the ground my Dad walked to the other side and measured up the pile. Jumping in he sank up to his neck. My Dad said, “I thought you only sank to your ankles!” I replied “Yes, I jumped in head first”.

There are creative solutions to most problems. For me change seems to be coming fast these days. As gardeners we naturally understand that we need to pivot, adjust, and above all, always try to stay grounded. 

  • Keep moving. Exercise. Staying active at any age provides ample benefits and that includes the ultimate natural exercise…..gardening. 
  • Dig in. Go out there and kill some plants. If you haven’t killed any plants you’re not trying hard enough.
  • Tell stories. The most useful stories are learned in the valley and not at the top of the hill. Be a “sonder” listening and sharing the stories of our amassed experiences and complex lives. 
  • Don’t be a stick in the mud. If you insist, your lot in life may be chairman of the “bored”. 
  •  Stretch yourself.
  • Remember grace and unconditional love are like the water from a garden hose, it always flows to the lowest point. Find those at a low point and extend some grace. “No one is useless in this world that lightens the burden of another” -Charles Dickens
  • Solid as a rock is not always good. Show some vulnerability and be a little “bolder”. 
  • Entropy is a reality, you can’t escape it so learn to embrace it in a positive way to help others in the journey. Change is inevitable. You are either moving forward or backwards. 


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