Monday, August 6, 2007

Squirrel Teaches Gardening Class

by Donna L. Watkins
© 2006 Donna L. Watkins - Squirrel Diving Into Popcorn
Are you a gardener? Do you enjoy planting things to see them grow and enjoy their blooms, fragrance or sheer beauty?

God has given us amazing gifts in Creation and within each creature or plant lie mysteries to be discovered. I was watching a squirrel the other day. Most people have watched squirrels at one time in their life. When I was a child, my great grandfather took me to a nearby park to feed squirrels and pigeons. We lived in the city, so our wildlife options were limited.

Although I grew up in the city, God created me with a place in my innermost being that unites with Creation because in reality we are all one with it. God's balance for us contains everything He created. There is nothing wasted. Doctors have thought that tonsils and the appendix are unnecessary organs, but science discovered that they have an important role in the body, being part of the lymphatic system.

My husband and I often discuss the best way to put a plant into the ground. Nursery tags have instructions, garden books have their own methods, and county extension agents have techniques. While watching one of our squirrels the other day, I thought how wonderful a gardener they are.

Our squirrels have planted great oak trees from nuts and beautiful sunflowers for us from feeder seeds.

It's obvious by the large number of oak seedlings that emerge each year, squirrels must be doing something right. They're not watering or fertilizing so how do they get so much to grow so well?

The squirrel digs a hole much bigger and deeper than the nut or seed. To keep it for a later meal, he only needs to get it under ground, so why dig a hole so much larger than the nut? God uses squirrels and other wildlife to plant, so their instincts are not geared only for survival food. The larger space of churned earth for the nut to take root is a need for the young roots and for the absorption of water when it rains.

They also stomp down the earth on top after they have buried it. That's not necessary to store the nut, but for it to take root, the ground needs to be in contact with the sprout that emerges. Then they cover the planting with surrounding leaves. We call that mulching to retain the moisture in the ground.

So, we do the same when we plant because Creation teaches us how to do many things better than a multitude of publications.

We had a wonderful day over in the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley looking at wildflowers, waterfalls, farms, an herb farm, grist mill, and walked a nature trail. View other travel albums.

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