It was only a few years ago that I heard the term “volunteer” with regards to plants. When a flower or tree shows up in your garden and you didn’t plant it, it is called a volunteer.
I have never been much of a gardener. I tend to have a lot of gardening energy in April and May and into June when it’s time to pull out all the weeds that have accumulated and perhaps move a few plants around. Then comes the planting: brightening up the space with colourful annuals and splurging on a couple of perennials. Everything looks so beautiful and fresh.
Then the heat of the northern desert descends upon us, and with that, the sapping of my energy. It gets too hot to go outside. I’m not a morning person and if I wait until dusk, I am eaten by mosquitoes. The early spring flowers start to wane and my beautiful Zen garden begins to look dry and neglected.
In the early fall, when the blazing heat has passed, I get a secondary wave of energy to spruce my garden up, and it looks wonderfully mature. After a good weeding, it is no longer hard to keep it up, as the growing has slowed. And so goes the cycle.
Back to spring. This is a magical time of discovery. Where will the violets spread this year? What should I do with the gap created by a plant that did not weather the winter? What is this little sprout? a weed or a flower? I let it grow and observe it until I know.
I have a couple of volunteer cedars in my back yard. I think they have come from the neighbour’s yard but I am not sure. Maybe they’ve come from a bird dropping, like the Mountain Ash seedling I found. I will not be able to keep these trees where they have volunteered to grow, but how wonderful that they have magically appeared for now.
Last year I planted some Cosmos along my brick wall. They are so tall and delicately lacy with gorgeous violet-pink daisy-like blossoms. I have loved these flowers since I first saw them, well after I moved to this beautiful desert city.
This year, I didn’t plant any. I ended up with tomatoes and basil instead, a gift from my sister and brother-in-law. But during my fall weeding, I noticed a lovely delicate plant, only as tall as my finger, springing up throughout my garden. My husband asked if it was a weed and I said, no, leave it.
Week by week he kept asking if he should pull these green things out, and I said, trust me, leave them alone. He forgot about the garden after the major fall weeding was done, but I checked on them once in a while, saw the buds form, and waited, waited.
One day, I told my husband I had something to show him. The ‘weeds’ that he wanted to pull had blossomed into stunning October beauties. My Cosmos had bloomed.
I love that it grew ‘from scratch’. I love that it picked its own patch of soil for its home. I love the unexpected colour and loveliness that it has given me and my little garden. It has volunteered to gift me with these things and I am very grateful.
Did you know that the word Cosmos means ‘harmonious system’ and is the opposite of chaos? Cosmos planted itself where it wanted, where it fit into the system of my garden and created its own harmony. I couldn’t have picked a better spot for it myself!
Cosmos is also used interchangeably with ‘universe’, and I see that aspect as well. I have a little piece of the universe in my garden, mysteriously appearing in its perfection, guided by an unseen hand through its cycles.
Take a moment to thank all the beauty that ‘volunteers’ to show up in your life. Thank everything and know deeply that it has its purpose whether you recognize it or not. See the Cosmos running through your life and breathe easily, knowing that everything is part of a harmonious system and is being guided without any fretting or worrying on your part.
You, too, are a volunteer. Where in the Cosmos will you show up today?
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I am a Mystic Angel with some Fairy energy whose Life Purpose is to learn, teach and share the esoteric and mysterious.