I started some seeds – peppers, tomatoes, some herbs – in late February, and the tiny seedlings are currently taking up space in my laundry room. I’ve never been a fan of Ohio winters, and looking forward to time in my garden helps get me through the late winter days.
Author Miriam Diaz-Gilbert writes beautifully about the spirituality that can be found in gardening. She started gardening 25 years ago with a bag of tulip bulbs. She planted them that autumn and waited for the pink flowers to show the next spring, and in those tulips, she found the spiritual dimension of gardening.
She said, “One sunny late afternoon as I walked past the tulips, I was drawn to one tulip in particular. The tulip’s pink petals were wide open. The inside of the delicate tulip revealed the exquisite intricacy of the tulip’s black and soft yellow stamen and a brighter yellow pistil. I was overcome with awe and wonder. Something so beautiful could not be designed by human hands. An overwhelming sense of peace came over me. This moment was a God experience.”
That experience inspired her to plant more gardens, with more flowers. In that time before the internet, she bought gardening books and Better Homes & Gardens for ideas and to increase her knowledge. She learned about zones and soil, sun and shade. She learned about perennials and annuals, planting perennials that would return every year and annuals that brought beauty to the garden for just one season.
She also learned that gardening can be physically strenuous – it can often mean being down on your hands and knees in the soil, digging, or pulling weeds. She learned that gardening requires and teaches patience and care.
She says, “As I faithfully care for my gardens, they nurture me spiritually. The hard work of gardening rewards me with spiritual calm. As I engage my body muscles, my mind is still and quiet…I set my worries aside. I have a silent conversation with God. The physical activity of gardening is a spiritually soothing exercise.”
Gardens go with the seasons. Right now, my daffodils are in full bloom, the bluebells are up and the peonies have just started to peek out of the ground. As these spring flowers bloom I will plant my vegetable garden. In the autumn, the flowers start to die back and the last of the vegetables are picked. In the winter the only thing green in my yard is the line of boxwoods that line the driveway. But I know there is life safe under the snowy cold of the winter, just waiting for Spring. And I know the soil will warm up and I will take another year’s tiny seedlings to my garden. As with Diaz-Gilbert, gardening strengthens my spiritual health.
I grew up with a garden. As a kid, our large garden each year turned into shelves of canned vegetables and sauces. Now I have some flower beds and two raised beds for the vegetables. But gardening can be as simple as a basil plant in a sunny spot on a windowsill, or some beautiful flowers on your front porch. Dig in this Spring and see if you can find the spiritual dimension of gardening.
Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications
Source: The Spiritual Dimension of Gardening.