Love and Flowers for All Seasons

I dearly love roses. During the first several years of our marriage, my thoughtful husband, Kevin, often brought them to me or had them delivered to the bank where I worked. After buying a home in the country on two acres of land, Kevin wanted me to have a steady supply, so he started a multi-colored rose garden right under our front porch.

He kept adding to it, and by the time we sold our home 14 years later, our rose garden was a work of art and living testimony to the hours of love Kevin had poured into this symbol of devotion.

As we considered selling our home, I remembered how things looked when we first arrived. The entire two acres was covered with dead grass, briars, and weeds. An acquaintance said reviving it seemed hopeless.

Kevin was undeterred.

He spent many hours bringing the grass back and planting every tree, bush, flower, and plant in that yard. He designed and built a peaceful fenced-in area behind the house where he could be found every spring tilling the ground and planting a large vegetable garden. Walking away from that place tore at my heartstrings. It felt like leaving a part of Kevin behind.

The truth is, Kevin and I are getting older. Along with age come health challenges that prohibit us from doing the things we did in the past. As attached as I was to our house, roses, and yard, we had come to accept that the toll it was taking on our bodies, minds, and finances was greater than the emotional pain of letting them go.

We now rent a townhouse that requires zero outdoor maintenance on our part, which brings an immeasurable sense of peace. Even though we no longer have two acres of land to garden and plant, the townhouse provides a large balcony outside our kitchen and another smaller balcony outside our upstairs bedroom—perfect outdoor spaces that are manageable for us.

When Kevin and our son, Zach, asked me what I would like for Mother’s Day this year, my immediate response was that I would like a flowering oasis on each of our balconies and to start growing more plants inside. I will never forget how meaningful it was to stand beside Kevin at our kitchen counter on Mother’s Day morning to plan and plant together. Rather than a large-scale rose or vegetable garden, we set our sights on lovely container gardens for both balconies. I often admire them. As I do, I stop and consider the season of life and wisdom these gardens represent.

Plants and Flowers Bring Hope 

Plants and flowers breathe life and clean air into stagnant environments. Even an unsightly office space is cheered by a tiny fern or flowering plant. You truly can brighten any “corner where you are” by accepting limitations, adjusting expectations, and working with what you have. With this, you can find contentment in your circumstances.

Create a Nature Sanctuary On Any Budget

When Kevin, Zach, and I discovered we needed something to elevate our planters for better visibility, we found two ladderback chairs online for $20. Inexpensive planters can be found in unlikely places and artfully converted with a touch of paint or stenciling. I placed a wagon wheel handmade by my Dad next to one of the chairs to add a unique and whimsical element. It was already a treasured possession and cost nothing. It is surprising what you can find if you shop in your own home.

Bargain Hunting Can Be a Family Adventure

Our balcony retreats aren’t quite as full as I envision, but each step toward that goal creates memories along the way. Taking our time, paying with cash, and searching for bargains and secondhand treasures together as a family is like a scavenger hunt that we all genuinely enjoy.

Seasons Change but Love and Flowers Remain

Life evolves—bodies age. But what a comfort it is to know we can still create a charming space, no matter how small! I still miss looking out our living room window at those stalwart rose bushes loaded with multi-colored blooms. But how abundantly blessed I am to look out at these vibrant container gardens planted by the same loving hands that brought so many roses into my life. I smile and breathe a prayer of gratitude for the dear, steady, man who remains faithfully by my side and whom I love now even more than I did then.

Cheryl Smith blogs at Biblical Minimalism.com, where she shares her family’s journey to relinquish excess and deepen their connection to Christ. Her book, “Biblical Minimalism,” is now available for purchase.