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Trinity + 2: God in our Gardens (part 3)

17 June 2007
1 Kings 21:1-10, 15-22, Luke 7:36-8:3, Psalm 5:1-8 Give Ear to my Words, O Lord
And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden. Genesis 2

As we sit in our gardens on a June evening in the Bourne Valley, it is very hard not to believe in God. A similar thought occurred to Thomas Edward Brown in the 19th century:

A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
Rose plot, Fringed pool, Ferned grot −
The veriest school of peace; and yet the fool
Contends that God is not -
Not God! In gardens! When the eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign;
'Tis very sure God walks in mine.

The historian A L Rowse tried to analyse this connection which many make:

A little group of thatched cottages in the middle of the village had an orchard attached; and I remember well the peculiar purity of the blue sky seen through the white clusters of apple blossom in spring. I remember being moonstruck looking at it one morning early on my way to school. It meant something for me; what, I couldn't say. It gave me such an unease at heart, some reaching out towards perfection such as impels men into religion, some sense of the transcendence of things, of the fragility of our hold on life.

But, whether or not you make this connection, we can perhaps all agree with Anon:
Gardening is medicine that does not need a prescription ... And with no limit on dosage.

Edgar Albert Guest, in his poem 'Plant a Garden', pointed out that no one with a garden could ever be bored:

If it's drama that you sigh for,
plant a garden and you'll get it.

You will know the thrill of battle
fighting foes that will beset it.
If you long for entertainment and
for pageantry most glowing,
Plant a garden and this summer spend
your time with green things growing.

At any rate, as the authors of '1066 and All That', Sellar and Yeatman, dictate:
It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening. You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not. 'Garden Rubbish'

Of course there are several pitfalls:
When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. Anon

The plants arrive, usually on a day that is either raining or requires one's presence elsewhere, work perhaps. Plant orders do not arrive on sunny, warm Saturday mornings. Steve Hatch, 'For Both Garden and Gardener, It's Time to Break Dormancy', 'The Boston Sunday Globe', 25 March 2001

Roses are red,
Violets are blue;

But they don't get around
Like the dandelions do.

As Rumer Godden said: A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy.

God, great and wonderful, who hast created the heavens and the earth, revealing thyself in every flower that opens; let not our eyes be blind to thee, neither let our hearts be dead, but teach us to praise thee, even as the lark which offers her song at daybreak. Amen