Blog from Lynn Horsley
My mother was an avid gardener in Denver but grew up in North Carolina and cherished the old Southern favorites like magnolias and dogwoods.
When I moved to Kansas City she was thrilled because she envisioned me creating a Southern oasis in my backyard. I actually have a brown thumb and have had more failures than successes. But I do have three dogwood trees, pink and white.
From my grandmother (who had a spectacular garden in North Carolina), I inherited a small printed card that shared the legend of the dogwood. It says that at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, the dogwood was the size of the oak, and it was chosen as the timber for the cross. The dogwood lamented being used for such a cruel purpose, and Jesus, nailed to the posts, sensed this and forgave the tree. He decreed that henceforth, the dogwood would be slender and small, with four-petal blossoms in the shape of a cross, and centers resembling a crown of thorns. Indeed, dogwoods in Missouri are so delicate and luminous. They herald a time of rebirth.
This past spring, in the midst of the pandemic and so much heartache, we had a late snow and I was really worried the cold snap would take a vicious toll on new buds. But the dogwoods bloomed in profusion and had never looked prettier. It was like they withstood the storm and emerged even stronger.
My mother was the inspiration for their planting, but she died six years ago and never got to see them in their splendor. I greatly regret that. But I also feel her spirit profoundly when I look at the flowering plants in my garden. Every blossom reminds me of her boundless enthusiasm for life, no matter the challenges and setbacks.
I also really enjoy working with Carla Dods in the Pine Ridge rain garden and community garden. Carla has taught me to appreciate the incredible beauty of native prairie plants that nurture butterflies and bees. And there’s nothing like the taste of fresh produce from the community garden.
Gardening is hard and often frustrating. Too often I obsess about the weeds, the invasive species, the pests. Gardening, like life, is a test of faith. It’s also a way to feel the presence of God and to enjoy the miracles of creation.