Thursday, 14 September 2017

Lessons in fruitfulness 14th September 2017 by Susanne Irving

The first thing I noticed when we got back from holiday a few days ago was the hanging basket with dried sweet pea skeletons. The flowers had coped OK for many weeks despite my haphazard watering, but 2 ½ weeks without any attention had clearly taken their toll. As I soon discovered, there is no point of leaving them in the garden any longer. We may have had PLENTY of rain in recent days, but it is too late now. Their roots are already dead.

In contrast, one of our apple trees bore the biggest apples I have ever seen. The apple tree faced the same weather conditions as the sweet peas, but its roots go much deeper.

It made me reflect on what my roots are like. When faced with a drought or a storm will I still stand and bear fruit? I made the decision to read a psalm every day to get back into the habit of daily bible reading.

I love the way “The Voice” puts the blessings of being rooted in God: “For you, the Eternal’s Word is your happiness. It is your focus – from dusk to dawn. You are like a tree, planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry. Your fruit ripens in its time, your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun…” (Psalm 1:2f)

Notice that the psalm does not promise that we will always bear fruit and never lose our leaves, but that at the right time we will see a harvest…

There would be no apples today if I had not bothered planting an apple tree years ago. I had to contribute something to be blessed with a harvest, but in the scheme of things I had to do very little. This year I am particularly aware that the apple tree had the right weather conditions when it was flowering. In contrast, in some regions of Germany the apple harvest has halved because of late frost. How often do I think about and give thanks for undeserved blessings? Looking for reasons to give thanks every day is another nourishing habit worth getting back into...

What is your garden (or nature) teaching you right now?

About the author: Susanne Irving is the co-ordinator for the Creative Communicators in Petersfield. She has co-written a book with her husband John about their experiences when climbing Kilimanjaro. It is aimed at both trekkers and those who are going through a dark time in their lives. How to conquer a mountain: Kilimanjaro lessons is available as a paperback and an e-book on Amazon, with all proceeds going to charity. The German translation Wie man einen Berg bezwingt: Was der Kilimanjaro uns gelehrt hat was also published on Amazon in June 2017.


  1. Lovely post, Susanne. I published a post on my blog today mentioning Psalms 1-7 with a photo of a tree growing by water.
    Our garden is teaching us that if there is too much strength in compost plants die, but if there is enough they thrive. In other words it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Sue

  2. I'm just learning, Susan, it's all about our legacy and what people might say about us when we're gone. Thought provoking.