Last fall I was in my friend Naomi’s back yard and asked her where she got her mums. They were gorgeous! To my surprise, they weren’t recently purchased at all. She’d had them for years.
Naomi told me her secret – pruning. I’d never heard of pruning mums before. Heck, until recent years, I typically bought them the first few days after they hit the grocery store sidewalk, left them in those green plastic pots on the front porch, then let them suffer from lack of water so that they eventually died a slow painful death sometime before Thanksgiving.
Imagine my delight last fall when the mums I’d planted the year before bloomed early. I was as delighted as a Sunday School kid staring at the first seedlings of a Mother’s Day flower, planted from seed in a styrofoam cup.
My delight lasted mere weeks as lanky stems finally succumbed to heat and became dark, black sticks. Those mums were pitiful.
Last night I remembered the conversation and headed to the front yard where I see the two mums that have earned their keep. They’ve endured an early spring thaw and the ensuing freeze. They’ve lasted through a sweltering summer and a Derecho.
One of the mums is small, less than a foot tall and maybe not that wide. It just now hints of the bloom inside. Tiny flower heads trapped inside green fingers like a handful of popcorn kernels that don’t fully cook, but show glimpses of white and are still fun to find and crunch.
The second mum is much larger. It’s two and a half feet tall if not taller and probably equal to that in diameter. A few yellow flowers have already seen their five minutes of fame, while others are backstage, just waiting for the curtain to open so they can make their debut.
I took the pruning shears and decided to give it a try. If I did it wrong? Oh well. They come back every year. But if I was right, and they needed pruning? They’ll be gorgeous this fall.
In the middle of the process I came back in to check Google. Yeahhhhhh, maybe I’m a little late pruning, as most sites mentioned no pruning after July 4th, but I’m already halfway into it.
“It’s only August 9th,” I reason. Besides, I’m a late bloomer. And an optimist.
My excitement grows such that what was initially to be a thinning out becomes…a deliberate pruning. Few stems were spared as evidenced here.
It all sounds so familiar.
“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” - John 15:2, ESV.
What about you?
What’s your experience with pruning? And what has God been speaking to you this week in your time of abiding with Him? And won’t you take the True Vine Challenge with us?