Gardening is one the most vital practices for teaching people the art of creaturely life. With this art people are asked to slow down and calibrate their desires to meet the needs and potential of the plants and animals under their care. Gardeners are invited to learn patience and to develop the sort of sympathy in which personal flourishing becomes tied to the flourishing of the many creatures that nurture them. A garden, we might say, is a living laboratory in which we have the chance to grow into nurturers, protectors, and celebrators of life. This, I believe, is why the first command given to the first human being was to come alongside God the Gardener and “till and keep” the Garden of Paradise. Gardening is hard and frustrating work, but it is not a punishment. To garden well – in the skillful modes of attention, patience, sensitivity, vigilance, and responsiveness – is to participate in the way God gardens the world.
May I appreciate the beauty of this earth.
If possible cultivate a garden patch. If not, care for some plants. Resolve to spend 10 minutes outdoors each day.
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:12
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.
Liberty Hyde Bailey
If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it, and understand it in a very real sense. ‘Green fingers’ are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpracticed. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart.
The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.
Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.
It gives you a good feeling. Each year, you rediscover in a garden the magic of life. A flower arrives, and it is a miracle. The leaves fall in the autumn, and it looks fantastic. There is a tenderness about a garden, and you can’t help but be sensitive to that.
Hubert de Givenchy
The madness of spring is so enticing. I love it when things are opening up and emerging from the ground. I also love the middle of summer when fruit is bursting forth, but I even love the garden in the winter when everything is resting.
No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.