Gardener friends share their thoughts on the spiritual meaning of gardening…
Oneness in the Garden
The garden is a versatile place. It can be highly tended, or let to run amok. In either instance, or in between, it is a place of infinite beauty. In winter, trees bare of leaves, in spring, bursting with renewed life, in summer, the hot season of abundant fruit, and in autumn, a gentle slowing down. We humans are gardeners, able to entice a harvest of flowers, fruit, and beauty within the realm of nature. We are all connected to life through the practice of gardening. Each season cause for reflection, action, or inaction. We witness nature taking over our intentions. We are reminded of our fragility and human-ness through the garden. We can rest, work, wonder, and connect to nature in our gardens. Gardens are more than beauty, or fruit; they are reminders of our inherent oneness.
Carla Resnick is a Master Gardener and Permaculture teacher
Featured photo: Hollyhocks in Carla’s garden, photo by Carla Resnick
My Gan Eden (Garden of Eden)
My garden shows me the seasons of my life: I am very aware of the seasonal changes. I can smell the air, feel the breeze, look at the young weeds coming up or dying. I see the vegetable annuals and their vines dying at the end of their season, the fruit trees and the berry bushes giving of their bounty and then gradually losing their vines and leaves, until spring comes again and awakens them.
My garden reminds me of the seasons of my life in many ways. In spring I sowed the seeds of my life (guided by my mother and caring friends and environment). . .in summer I saw my efforts grow, expand and flourish. . . Autumn now. . .did I make the proper investments in my faith, God, family, friends, finances and home? This is where I am right now. When things bog me down, like heavy weeds in the garden, nothing can flourish. I am getting rid of things that need to go on the “compost pile,” things for which I no longer have a need.
My garden reflects my health: no herbicides or insecticides are permitted. If I don’t feel well, I ask myself what did I consume, do, think. . .am I in touch with the greater universe, my creator, God?
I need to feel the positive energy from my garden, a feeling of peace, the fragrances, the sound of the birds, seeing the bees at work and my dog always at my side. Being in the garden with all the living creatures is very healing. I fertilize my garden with organic matter, give the plants a place with sunshine and space to grow, and water as needed. . .and I will do the same for myself. I allow myself to be nurtured by my faith, friends, family, but above all, the love of God. This garden, my Gan-Eden, is a wellspring of emotional and physical health.
Any nation that wants its people to live a healthy life, should provide them with an opportunity to work a small piece of ground, near where they live, at no cost. Their response to growing their own cucumbers, tomatoes, etc, will have an enormous impact on their attitudes towards respecting the earth, the food they eat and maybe even the democracy under which they live. It’s food for thought!
Tira (her Hebrew name), an avid gardener and member of my congregation in California
Featured image: Minneapolis garden collage via Wellsprings on Instagram, JHD