Root Bound

I have been spending a lot of time in the dirt lately. We are in the planting phase of an epic landscaping project. Meaning, we had 1 acre of land disturbed.


Before the circular driveway had two entrances and wound around the house
After creating a single entrance driveway and grading

It’s supposed to help with drainage, parking and safety. The front yard is no longer a hill, it’s nice and flat and the kids can run and ride bikes without tumbling.  I really am enjoying the new look but has been a lot of work. Mostly on my husband’s back and shoulders.

So while I’ve been digging in the dirt, listening to the kids play in the yard. I’ve been cherishing a little change in rhythm and purpose: providing a great place for my plants to grow in.

They have been growing in the nursery for a few months. I’ve collected them from mark downs at Walmart and Lowes (Yes, I am that frugal.) My hubby hooked them up to irrigation so that they could survive the summer months until planting season in the fall.

Sometimes it’s hard to get a plant out of its pot. Its roots have clung to the sides of the pot. So, you have to bang it out of your fist. If it’s really root bound, it might just “refuse” to come out and you have to take the scissors to it.

Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin on Unsplash

After you’ve managed to get it out. I take a look to see what the roots are doing. I have discovered through observation that the side of the pot that the irrigation spout rests on, is the place with the most roots. It’s important to stimulate the roots a bit. In a plant that is root bound in a pot, it’s roots grow circular around the pot. But, now that my plant is going to the ground with an unlimited amount of soil, I need it to stop the circular growth pattern and reach out to the expanse of dirt that I am providing for it.

What’s involved next might seem a little painful: I scuff up the roots. I scratch them with a gloved hand or break them my trowel. I need them to get ready for big things. It’s not too rough, promise. In just 3 weeks with  the right planting method, my roses have 2-3 inches of new growth on them. They are doing just fine.

As I was starting on the gardenias today, I thought to myself. How many times have I been root bound? Going nowhere, just in circles. When I’ve been struggling with that anger or unforgiveness that I just so easily fall back into.

Why can’t I just wake up and grow out of the pot? Why can’t I send my roots to deeper soil?

Photo by Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash

It can happen in the plant world, there is a way. Sometimes, a potted plant will be stimulated to have downward growth. For example, there might be a drenching rain where the ground keeps the base of the pot damp. That plant can send roots out of the little drainage holes and into the ground, where it can grow deep roots. I have had to cut roots that a potted plant had grown into the ground before because they were so thick and strong.

Growing is not easy sometimes, being planted in a new spot might require some root scuffing. What is painful for a moment will lead to a new direction and has the potential for great growth.

If I send my roots to Jesus, He is the living water. If I stay root bound and stick to my pot, I will continue to go in circles.

Jesus’ promise is that I will never thirst again. In the book of John, He speaks to the Samaritan woman at the well.

” There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:7-14, New American Standard Bible

Praise God today for His living water. Grow to him when you are thirsty.

Does nature make you think of spiritual principals?


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