To prune and to be pruned

“All gardens, even the most native and naturalistic, benefit from the hand of an artful pruner. In this season where the garden is poised for the green flood of springtime, remember that our gardens are co-creations, shared with mother earth. And like any good mother, she expects you to tidy up your room. Now get clipping!”
Tom Spencer, Soul of the Garden

(the sweet demure bloom of the Quince / Julie Cook / 2014)

To prune a garden, shrubbery or a life takes careful thought and consideration.
It is a task not for the faint at heart nor is it a task for the weary.
It is a task for those possessing patience and for those with an eye for what may be.
It is not a task for the quick minded, the “hurry up and be done” mind.
Rather, pruning, is a task which requires time and thought.

Oh it’s easy to whack and hack here and there— cutting away willy nilly for the pure sake of cutting.
Chop off this and cut away that—be gone overgrown and growth!
Take it all off, to the ground I say–be gone eyesore and out of control!
Take this and take that, you, the unsightly nuisance of my world

And the litany of no more goes on and on. . .
No, pruning is not a chore for those whose vision is simply of the here and now. . .
. . .For pruning is a deliberate act of the future.
It is accomplished with care, concern and hope.

Even the tools of choice must be considered carefully and artfully.
Does one choose the more controlled and deliberate instruments of cutting which offer the ability to chip away slowly with precision and direction?


Or does one, whose main objective is merely to obliterate what is perceived to be the immediate problem—that of the surface only, choose something lethally quick yet destructive? A device which says to its victim “be gone and be done”—a device which takes away everything– leaving only the bare and barren behind with the fleeting backhanded thought that things will surely come back just as before?



A loving Creator, who looks out upon the broken landscape of our lives, surveys much which needs pruning and weeding.
No small task.
Not a task for the faint hearted or weary indeed.
For He is neither.

The pruning and weeding of our lives is skillfully accomplished by the hand of One who loves tenderly and deeply, yet also fiercely. It is a task mastered by One who is not afraid to inflict the initial pain which is a result of the initial pruning because it is He who has the eye for what will be.
He is the One who sees the possibilities for perfect growth. That which was once overgrown and out of control can be and will be tamed, trained, thinned and trimmed all by the loving hands of this Master Gardener.

There is pain in the pruning by the hand of the Creator. Whereas the pain may be physical, it is also mystical. One which burns yet is tender and sweet. . .one which seems long lasting yet is gone in the blink of an eye. For no temporal pain caused by the pruning of affliction and suffering lasts an eternity.

It is the eye of the Master who sees that which He loves, drawing it ever closer to His hands.
He tenderly trims and cuts—He staves the oozing and bleeding, gently binding the wounds.
His vision reaches beyond time, for He sees to the moments of regrowth and reemergence, as the tender new shoots, slowly at first and ever so gently, begin to curve upward.

And as He looks upon His handiwork, this Master Gardener smiles, as that which was out of control and overgrown, is now neat and tidy. The weeds which choked out the tender shoots are now dug up and gone. The tangled mess of branches and sticks are now neatly cut back. Miraculously the once hidden tiny buds, receiving the full warmth of the sun, now joyously begin to reopen in all their splendor and gratitude.

All is well, all is well. . .all is now, finally well, with my soul.

6 comments on “To prune and to be pruned

  1. Lynda says:

    Julie, Lent is the perfect time to open ourselves up to God’s pruning. I am a very poor gardener as I like things very tidy and yet I don’t have the patience. I pray that God will have patience with me and be more gentle than I am in the garden. Blessings.

    • I’m right there with you Lynda–I do work in the yard and have the vegetable garden in the summer–but I am not patient and my shrubs, plants, etc—are not anything to behold. I have spent a lifetime being pruned and trimmed–sometimes it hurts, sometimes it is refreshing—but I am truly a work in progress ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Great post, Cookie. Like you I feel like I’m in a pruning season and it’s definitely challenging. Loved the photos too. Hugs, Natalie ๐Ÿ™‚

    • the post stemmed ( no pun on stems) from our having cut, pruned, whacked and butchered our shrubbery Sunday. My idea is to have precision, direction and an even temperament— my husband’s idea, of which naturally prevailed, was to take the chain saw to everything in sight, having at it and be just as quickly done as once begun.
      Needless to say a terrible row resulted—once the dust settled literally and figuratively, the entire episode got me thinking. . .making better with words of what was, at the time, quiet dreadful. . .

      • Oh, my gosh, sweet, sweet Cookie, thank you so much for that comment. I did so need to laugh. I’m so sorry for what happened but your telling of it made me laugh out loud. I’m married to the same kind of guy. Put a power tool in his hands and he comes a Kamikaze pilot taking out everything in his path. It’s hard for me to believe that men ever were good gardeners after he runs his course of destruction. Love and hugs, Natalie ๐Ÿ™‚

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