Changing the Color of Your Spirit

By Marcy Barthelette

The farmer sows the word. Mark 4:14 NIV

Ever noticed those big-leafed bushes with the giant balls of color dancing at the ends of their branches, often becoming so heavy they weigh down the branch that tries to support them. They’re called hydrangeas and, whether planted in drifts or as an accent piece, they are quite the showstoppers! Hydrangeas also offer an enchanting phenomenon in the garden. The Bigleaf varieties possess an unusual ability to change their bloom color when we amend the soil around them. Keep in mind, only the Bigleaf varieties can be altered. White varieties, such as Oakleaf and Snowball, will always be white. But give the Mophead and Lacecap varieties of the Bigleaf hydrangea family an opportunity and they’ll reward you with an explosion of your color preference. Just by altering the Ph levels of the soil, you can make it easier or more difficult for the plants to absorb aluminum ions from the soil, thereby affecting the color.

Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life. All of these functions, in their turn, modify the soil and its properties. (Wikipedia)

Before making amendments to your soil, it’s a good idea to get a soil test through your local Cooperative Extension Service or a commercial soil laboratory and always take any questions and concerns you may have to a gardening professional, especially when dealing with chemicals. It’s also important to consider the plant neighbors near your hydrangeas that may be adversely affected by any changes to the soil makeup.

Bring to your project a small cultivator to loosen the surface, a spreader, a hose, your gardening gloves, and a generous sprinkling of patience. Take care to keep the soil disturbance shallow so as not to damage your hydrangea roots. Spread the amendment material evenly all the way to the dripline, the outermost edge of the plant’s

 growth. If you desire a blue bloom, add a purchased acidifier such as garden sulfur or aluminum sulfate. For pink to red blooms, add lime. Keep in mind that lime can cause leaf yellowing, so it is important to water the area thoroughly after application. Typically blue blooms require acidic soil with a Ph level below 6.0 but to achieve pink shades you will need to encourage alkaline soil with a Ph above 7.0. Don’t be surprised to see some purples emerge if your Ph is between 6 and 7. Remember your color basics, blue plus red equals purple. 

If chemicals aren’t your cup of tea, you may want to consider a natural approach. Coffee grounds, compost tea, vinegar, peat moss, pine needles or pine bark mulch will add acid for the blue tones. Wood ash can be used to neutralize the soil for pink shades. Whichever color or method you prefer, amendments must be added 2-3 times per year, and don’t forget the patience factor in this equation. Changes don’t happen overnight. Add another dimension to your project by amending one side of the plant with an acidifier and the other with lime for a bush that is half blue and half pink. Your non-gardening friends will be amazed at your abilities.

But what about the soil that nurtures our spirits? How do we test it? What additives have we applied? What tools do we bring to the garden? How do we nourish a spirit that puts faith into action and makes mercy a major key to our identity? Where do we go when the road gets bumpy and sometimes the ruts seem too deep to climb out of? What kind of seeds do we sow when we feel on top of the world, seeds of gratitude or seeds of arrogance?  How do we change the color of our spirit?

Are you living a life that qualifies as “good soil”? Is your heart open for His word? Do you pray and allow his love and guidance to permeate your spirit, taking away worry and removing the parts of yourself that are no longer necessary? Everlasting Father, I long to grow your word in my life. Help me work the soil of my spirit. Daily Guideposts One Minute Devotion, May 7, 2021

As for my hydrangeas, I just let nature take its course, and this year I had blue, pink, and purple blooms all at once, I suppose signifying a Ph level at just about dead center. That’s fine for my soil and my hydrangeas, but for myself, I need to examine all that my “spiritual soil” is currently offering so that I can determine any course corrections that may be needed and then make the necessary amendments. Now, let’s see — where did I last leave His Holy Word? Looks like my spiritual soil could use a little amending! 

2 Responses to “Changing the Color of Your Spirit”

  1. Rhonda says:

    Thank you, Marcie for this beautiful devotional. Certainly something to ponder. I am so thankful that you serve by your inspirational writings. Thank you.

  2. Marcy Barthelette says:

    I always appreciate hearing from readers and friends Thanks for your kind words. I truly enjoy the work that God has tasked me with. In fact, it doesn’t seem like work at all. Your encouragement means so much.

Leave a Reply