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Despite the intensity and iciness of our recent rains, Spring officially began last week. Accordingly, I’m tending my garden in anticipation of the flowers that will bloom.

In her column on gardening, Jan Riggenbach describes how to treat bedding plants, stating “Giving new bedding plants some rough treatment at planting time may be the best thing you can do to help them survive in the garden. When I was new to gardening, I tried to set tomatoes, petunias, and other bedding plants in the garden without disturbing their roots at all. Nowadays, I’m much more ruthless…”

Riggenbach says she squeezes the bottoms of the flexible plastic pots to get the plants out of their container and then she inspects the soil ball.

“If the plant has been growing in its pot so long that the roots are circling the bottom,” says Riggenbach, “I jab my finger into the bottom of the soil and pull down to untangle the roots…If the whole pot is filled with circling roots, I have to be merciless. I don’t worry if I break some of the roots; that’s better than allowing the roots to continue to circle when the plants are growing in the garden. Most bedding plants shrug off this rough treatment.”

When we grow complacent and comfortable, our roots circle around and around, no longer reaching out for life and nourishment and growth. Perhaps the healthiest thing God can do is shake up our roots and put us in new soil.