Last summer, when doing some gardening around the Church, it was painfully apparent to me that something had to be done with the six Euonymus hedges that surrounded the Statue Case. Simply trimming these plants wasn’t going to be enough. This small garden bed’s hedges had grown to a point where they were starting to block the view of the Holy Family statue from the street. If left unchecked, these hedges would eventually be more than waist high to the statues. Knowing how big these Euonymus could grow, I knew I could not let these hedges go unchecked much longer.
It was Day 72 of the Covid-19 Lockdown when I started to dramatically cut back the Euonymus. This is something that I have done many years before. Cutting back the Euonymus to a small clump of branches in the mid-2000's is what saved these plants from Euonymus Scale. Back in the early 2000s, many gardens in Hamilton were hit by a pesticide resistant armoured scale insect that would cover the branches and stems of Euonymus shrubs. It was only by physically removing the insect infested branches, and preventing these insects from feeding off the sap of the bushes, the Euonymus hedges were able to survive and regrow back to healthy plants.
Spring is always a time of renewal. It always comes after the dark days of winter. Over the next three mornings of those hot spring days I spent working on cutting back Euonymus, I noticed that the daffodils and tulips still flowered. The grass turned green and grew again. The Hosta sprouted from the ground and opened up their leaves again. The property’s large trees began to break bud to be covered in leaves again. Nature just continued on as it always had, as it always will. While working on the garden, I also noticed that people still waited for the bus to come by. Cars still zoomed by. People still did their grocery shopping across the street at the Mall. Life, like nature, still went on even through the Lockdown.
I have faith that in time, the Euonymus hedge will grow back and form a neat hedge around the Statue Case. I knew while gardening during the Lockdown that life in time would eventually return to something that resembled normal again. I knew that people would walk past the Statue case and see this garden again before going to Church. I knew that we would be able to gather together to worship as a community of faith again. After all, nature and human faith are unstoppable forces.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay connected. And, until next time, this is Michael Pollard for This old Church of Ours.