One thing I especially love about being the groundskeeper at our church is that there are almost always new flowers blooming and plants growing. The profusion of plants makes it sometimes easy to forget that when I started on this project just a few short years ago, there was virtually nothing growing there except an occasional weed.
With prayer and some labor, that has changed and it continues to change, year to year and week to week. Still, it never looks quite the same, two weeks in a row. When something finishes blooming, there is usually something else getting ready to bloom. Here is some of what is also at the church.
This is a small area around a power pole that looked frankly ugly. It was nothing but weeds. So I planted two bushes. One of them takes up most of this view and it is a black currant bush that is totally loaded with currants this year.
This bush can grow to 12 feet tall, but the deer have kept it topped, so it has just become bushier.
Incidentally, the fruits produced by this bush are true currants. What is sold in the store as "golden currants" aren't currants, they are raisins. In other words, golden currants come from grape vines.
This picture is closer up and shows the still-unripe green currants tucked under the leaves. When these become ripe, they will turn black, which is the reason for the common name; black currant. I'm hoping that there will be enough of them this year that I can make a pint of currant jelly.
Beside the sanctuary building, the irises have finished blooming, just in time for the daylilies to begin opening up. What impresses me about this is that the daylilies are a variety that normally only grows about 18 inches tall. Some of these blossoms are four and a half feet off the ground, though.
I planted a lot of daylilies along both buildings, but not all of them have opened yet. It should be spectacular when that happens. I'll need to separate the irises and daylilies at the end of this year.
This is in front of the soup kitchen building. The tube-shaped flowers are bell flowers and there are purple, blue, pink, and white ones blooming. I didn't plant these, they were already growing there when I started. However, they weren't blooming and they didn't bloom the first year. The picture takes in about 4 feet of a 25-foot flower bed and there are now bellflowers (and a few primroses) growing the whole length of it.
The whitish blossoms in the picture in the upper right are chives. The blossoms are usually blue, but these opened about a month ago, so they have faded to white. When they start drying out, I plan on removing the chive blossoms, which should cause the plants to put out new blossoms. Doing this, I can have the chives blooming for most of the growing season.
The plants growing here are highly attractive to hummingbirds and bumblebees.
This is a small section of the flower beds that are dominated by the beautiful snapdragons. In this image, on the lower right is a yellow lupine. Above it is a pink petunia. In the lower middle is a marigold, which is the first plants that go in every year because the deer don't like them. Above the marigold is a miniature daylily. Most of the rest of the plants in this image are pansies, aka violets aka johnny jumpups.
I have not yet put down new bark mulch in this area, but it will look nicer once I do.
This is a part of the beds where I've already put down the bark mulch, to give some idea of what the last picture will soon look like. In this image, there is a salmon-colored snapdragon in front, right, a red one above it, and to the left of the red snapdragon is a light blue delphinium. Over on the upper left corner is a chrysanthemum. It hasn't begun to bloom yet.
The mum came from one of our pastors, Pastor Jack. Late last year, his wife of 57 years passed away and one of the flowers at the funeral was the mum, as a living tribute. I planted it in a spot that will get the most attention when it blooms and it is perennial so it will come up year after year, hopefully for many years to come.
The rest of the plants in this image are either pansies or marigolds that haven't yet bloomed.
I thought I'd include a picture of Pastor Chuck, our senior pastor, as a final image of this set. Prior to becoming a youth pastor, then associate pastor, and finally the senior pastor, Chuck was a bank manager for some time and also a reserve deputy for a time.
However, almost 20 years ago, he married a woman named Krista Sinclair. Krista's father was Pastor Jim Sinclair, who was the senior pastor of Church on the Move here; our church. Jim was also a very big man, a muscular former timber faller who stood 6 foot 8 inches and weighed about 260, mostly muscle. Chuck was quite intimidated by Jim before he got to know Jim. Jim was the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, most God-fearing man you could hope to meet.
It was with Jim's encouragement that Chuck started his walk in the ministry. Early in 2017, Jim retired from the ministry and Chuck was elevated to Senior Pastor. It was a tumultuous time for Chuck and he was tested early. In November 2017, shortly after Jim's 62nd birthday, Jim passed away. There was profound sadness in our community, across the nation, and even the world by everyone who knew him. The loss was for ourselves, though, because Jim went home and that was something he had looked forward to with joyful anticipation.
It was under Pastor Jim's loving guidance that I started the flower bed project and it is under Pastor Chuck's that I continue.
Incidentally, Pastor Chuck is 44. He and Krista had their fourth child last year; a miracle baby. Doctors had told Krista that she couldn't have any more kids, that it was an impossibility, and that she was too old to bear another, anyway. God clearly had other plans and fulfilled a promise he'd made to both Chuck and Krista; two girls and two boys. They only had two girls and a boy at the time, now they have two of each. Their eldest daughter is 18, if I'm not mistaken, so it is quite an age spread.