Pruning

The Pert Plan is an acronym for thinking about things that are PERT - pure, excellent, right, true….and PLAN stands for praiseworthy, lovely, admirable, and noble. It is based on a Bible verse - Philipians 4:8

Your clean, cheesy joke of the day from quickfunnyjokes.com

Q: Why aren’t koalas actual bears? 

A: The don’t meet the koalafications.

I want to read a Pinterest post by “Lisa Byrne” - picture a beautiful green background with a cluster of white flowers in the background. The flowers look a bit like a dogwood tree bloom but not exactly. Very delicate. I’ve never seen this bloom before. The quote is “When we can become skilled at selectively knowing what to prune out of our lives, what remains becomes stronger, brighter, clearer.” 

This reminds me of walking into my office last week after a cold, dry weekend and my peace lily plant was totally flat as a pancake. It was still green, but absolutely wilted like it had fainted on the floor. I gave it a big cup of water and waited all day to see if any life would burst forth, but there was no evidence of movement. By the next morning, I walked it and “poof” it was alive and well, pert and perky and green and glowing! All it needed was some hydration and a good night’s sleep. 

Isn’t that what we all need? But sometimes we need a bit more. Maybe some pruning. Some cutting away of the dead blooms or leaves that, as a gardener might say “those dead leaves are just sucking away all the nutrients that should be going to the leaves that are still alive!”

A master gardener might say, “Pam - don’t be afraid of killing it - pluck or cut those away! Otherwise the whole plant is gonna die!” When I am so panicked that I might lose my entire plant. The plant I have cared for so many years, I might be paralyzed with fear. Fear of loss. But, sometimes we have to get in there and whack away the dead. 

Just today I drove down the interstate and saw a tragedy. Dozens and dozens of crepe myrtle trees cut back to their nubs. Those crepe myrtles had been murdered. Southern Living magazine taught me that term years ago “Crepe murder”. But I don’t think the highway landscaping workers subscribe to Southern Living. They are doing the best they can. What is efficient and seemingly effective. They cut away nearly everything. But it is sure a sore sight for the next couple of months. 

Sure those crepe myrtles will eventually bloom but I think they end up looking stubby looking. Nothing like the old graceful crepe myrtles that are tenderly trimmed of their dead blooms at the end of the season. I think crepe myrtles in the winter with their bloomless arms are quite beautiful. A stark reminder of the winter but a vision of hope for the summer blooms to come. 

Maybe if those crepe myrtles had a master gardener that took the time to see what part should stay, what parts should go - that would be beneficial to the crepe myrtle (and much more attractive). 

Like each tree and plant, we are all seemingly similar but actually different in many ways. We all need a little attention and pruning every season. So, what can we learn from my dehydrated easter lily and those murdered crepe myrtles? What do we need to gently prune away in our lives today? A snappy word out of our mouth? A hateful thought? A toxic person? 

Maybe you feel overwhelmed and just need some water, some sleep and maybe some of those fancy fertilizers that plants need. Some nutritious food and some sunlight? Take care of yourself. Take care of those plants and trees in your care. But a warning for all those plants and humans that you feel need a LOT of pruning - Don’t get in there with your friend, your children or your spouse and hack away at all their dead blooms. Help them if they need it or ask for it but focus on getting yourself blooming and then you are capable and experienced to help others. 

And when you have some free time, somebody please start a hashtag campaign - #stop the crepe murders! 

(Guided deep breathing.)