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Bittercress

by Wayne Smith on August 15, 2020

Both my grandfathers were horticulturalists and raised on farms in the Atlee/Mechanicsville area. One grandfather, as an adult, owned a Feed and Seed store in Richmond. My love of the land and plants is in my blood and inspired me to earn a Biology Degree from Randolph Macon College.

Spending time in the garden and flower beds means time alone with God and with my thoughts. It requires a prolonged amount of time on my knees and, with my head bowed, it is humbling.

Bittercress is one of the first weeds to take root and it usually begins to spread seeds before I know it. The weeds are relatively easy to pull out. I use a putty knife to cut the root just below the surface of the ground which causes little disturbance of the soil.

The plant sends up multiple shoots that flower and produce pods full of seeds. Pulling the weed before the development of the pods or while the pods are still green keeps the seeds from spreading. If you wait until the pods dry, they split open and the seeds shoot out all over the place. I have gotten hit in the eye many times from projectile seeds.

In Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus tells the Parable about the Wheat and the Tares. The verse begins, “The Kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.” Jesus would be the sower, the field would be the earth and believers would be the good seed. The scripture goes on to say that the evil one comes and scatters bad seed on the ground which grows up along with the good seed. The sower instructs the servants to let the weeds grow, but to harvest them first and throw the weeds into the fire to burn. The wheat is to be harvested and brought to the master’s barn.

Sometimes the weeds in our lives are of our own making. Sometimes they are planted by others. Sometimes they are from the evil one. Regardless of how we decide how to handle them, it is best to pluck them out before they go to seed and spread in another season of life.

Sometimes the weeds are in our world and our world is in a mess right now. That which seemed clear is now murky. The good and the bad seeds are growing and at times it is hard to tell which is which. We may not be able to differentiate the plants until the fruit is produced. At that time the Wheat will be separated from the Tares.

Now is a good time to get on our knees and look at our personal and national lives. It is time to remove the weeds that separate us from each other and God.

That’s the view from my backyard!

 

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