My Faith Journey Through Planting – Mary Lee Stoll

My Faith Journey through Planting


I began gardening when I was 11 years old. I doubt that I thought about gardening being a relationship with God. It was just something I enjoyed being able to plant seeds and experience the stages of their growth until beautiful flowers appeared. One of my favorites at that time was my hops vines that grew on our fence. No, at 11, I wasn’t making beer; it was just cool to see the vines covered with clusters of flowers that were shaped like small green unopened pinecones.


When I moved into my present home 50 years ago, the soil in the flower beds on either side of my back yard had been replaced with topsoil due to some type of fungus or poison. It was, and is, a pleasure to work in those beds.  I have been told that I have a green thumb, but what I have all Spring, Summer and Fall long is dirty fingernails.


Two weeks ago, Pastor Jen told us about “trail magic.”  Well, I have been blessed with ”plant magic.” Being an overly thrifty person, most of my plants come from the “distressed” racks or the broken pieces I find at various garden centers and take home to root. I’m certain God sends me to the garden centers to rescue broken pieces so they can flourish under my care.


I love flowers and gardening. I see God in the beauty of all my flowers and how one small broken piece of a plant can grow into a very large plant – “plant magic!” I am awed by all the beauty God has given us to enjoy. God sends birds to perform “plant magic” for me. I had a dogwood tree seedling appear the year before my dogwood tree on that side of my yard died, a Mahonia that just appeared and other plants that I did not plant. I think the Mahonia was sent to remind me of the devil’s work in me. The thorns are especially sharp.


A truly favorite is my sea of small very red poppies that come up every year from the seeds I brought back from Turkey when some of us walked in the footsteps of Saint Paul with Pastor Schuetze several years ago. They come up year after year.


Several weeks ago, I went to get more free leaf mulch at the city facility on Eisenhower Ave. Talk about “plant magic,” I was overwhelmed by what I encountered. Some garden center or maybe Edison High School, had dumped all the plants they couldn’t sell, were root-bound or had completed their first blooming cycle. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. Surely, God had sent me there on that particular morning to rescue, rescue, rescue. AND, I certainly did! Hanging baskets of petunias, geraniums, verbena and coleuses; delphinium, tuberous begonias, mandevilla and numerous others.


By the way, did I mention that God is with me in my gardening?


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