When working outside in any variety of gardens, even front porch container gardens, there are more species of life participating than just plants. I also find it fascinating to look for personal life analogies outside in my gardens and my yard.
This week we are getting ready for our Family Fun Day activities, including releasing 9,000 lady bugs, 33 painted lady butterflies, and honey bee activities. In the midst of all of this planning, we built a little over 100 square foot raised bed in the middle of our garden, which means lots of transplanting and more seeds to start. I truly do feel “as busy as a bee”!
Raised Bed Addition
I am so excited about and delighted with our new u-shaped raised bed. It is 2 feet deep and 4 foot wide with the side being 12 feet long. I wanted to give pictures of the process so that I can continue to show how wonderfully it can be planted and maintained.
We have our potatoes and beets in containers and they are very crowded. The plan is to try and spread them out by transplanting them into this new bed. The rain this week has slowed that process down. (I’m not even sure they will make it as a transplant when they are so large already). I will keep you posted on the results. (I am such a novice at all of this!)
*Total cute side note – I found a nest of baby cardinals in the arch of my roses, right at eye level. So adorable!
Under the Surface
As we were hauling in dirt to fill this bed, we noticed lots of wonderful worms which are great for the soil. This reminded me of the importance of worms and of composting, so I added a worm station activity to our Family Fun Day. Worms truly are a garden friend that are often overlooked and underappreciated. I even posted a gummy worm recipe this week.
A personal life analogy with worms made me think about how we often have things buried beneath the surface of our lives that may need to be recognized, worked on and even appreciated. If we focus on those things that need to be worked on inside (below ground level), then it can produce great fertilizer and intentionally make great soil, that in turn will create a healthier crop that is seen on the outside (above ground level). They work at eating and breaking down rotten material and turning it into something necessary for health and life. Sometimes what we don’t see working on internally is vital to what we do see externally. Worms are a great reminder of this.
Over the years, I have done several ladybug releases in a variety of locations. They are easy to order online and easy to care for until releasing them. Ladybugs are a wonderful, natural way to get rid of harmful garden pests. Kids love this gentle bug and I love watching their excitement as they turn them loose.
Entomologically speaking, the term bugs applies to insects of the order Hemiptera. Ladybugs belong to the order Coleoptera, or beetles. Almost all ladybugs feed on soft-bodied insects, and serve as beneficial predators of plant pests. Gardeners welcome ladybugs with open arms, knowing they will munch on the most prolific plant pests. Ladybugs love to eat scale insects, white flies, mites, and aphids. As larvae, ladybugs eat pests by the hundreds. A hungry ladybug adult can devour 50 aphids per day.
What personal life analogy can we learn from these incredible creatures? Well, we do know that they protect our plants by destroying harmful predators. We all have “pest like” issues in our lives that we may need to intentionally go on the hunt for to rid them from harming ourselves or other. These may include harmful addictive issues of drugs or alcohol, anger issues, poor decisions concerning our eating habits, harmful attitudes or negative thinking or even pornography. We need to destroy these “pests” in our lives just like ladybugs destroy harmful aphids. They also have several protective mechanisms built in to help out, but you just need to come here Saturday to learn more.
This is my first attempt at a butterfly release. I started with very tiny caterpillars and have watched and waited. So far I have 33 painted lady butterfly chrysalis and am praying they will all emerge before Saturday. I feel like a mom waiting for delivery. I have learned that different species feed on very specific plants, so I had to track down a type of mallow plant called a Tall Mallow or French Hollyhock for these butterflies. (Not easy to find around here). I can plant these to attract painted lady’s, as well as put them in their habitat container to see if they will lay eggs on the leaves and continue the life cycle.
The most incredible life application with butterflies is the wonder of metamorphosis. In life we all have the beautiful ability to start out as one thing, or going in one direction, and totally change into something extraordinary – to spread our wings and fly. As a Christian, the butterfly is the perfect analogy of being totally transformed into a new creation through the power of Jesus Christ.
I started with one bee hive over 9 years ago when we moved to the country. I never really managed the hive well, so we didn’t get much honey. Two years ago, our neighbors Bill and Tarey Shipley, took over our hive as well as starting their own. They are up to 10 hives now and they have a small observation frame we will use for our Saturday event.
There are so many life analogies to use with honeybees. We need to be good “pollinators” of loves, joy, peace, kindness, and gentleness as we interact from person to person. (I also am learning more about Mason bees as incredible pollinators). We need to be intentionally focused and hardworking, being about the tasks we were uniquely created to accomplish. We need to understand the importance of working together with others as a team toward positive results. We need to be vigilant and watchful at protecting our “hive” from predators and disease. (Honeybees often give their own lives in the protection of others. I want to give a very special thank you to all the military men and women who protect our nation and give their lives for us). But there are everyday tasks all moms, dads, grandparents, single adults, and children of all ages do to share and care for others to make a positive difference. We need to share our excess “honey” with others to add “nutritious, beneficial, healing sweetness” in whatever ways we are gifted in.
I love all of these fabulous garden friends, and I want to thank all the wonderful family and friends in my life who have provided nurture, protection, and sometimes even beneficial “fertilizer” to help me grow and be fruitful. You have played a very important part in the “garden” of my life. I love you all very much!!