photo-44It’s been a long and cold winter here in Kansas. I am not complaining, though. I grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada where we didn’t begin to get a glimpse of spring until well into April.
But now with the warm winds pushing their way through, the geese doing an about-face and the daffodils poking their heads through the soil, we may be thinking of our gardens.
I grew up in a big city so we didn’t have a garden. I have had a lot to learn and I have grown to love the garden, though I am still a tenderfoot at it.
So…with gardening just around the corner (or maybe in some places already started), I thought I would spark your enthusiasm with this tidbit from Emilie Barnes.

The real reason is that it gives me an excuse to post these pictures that get me (and you) dreaming about flowers again! 🙂

 

Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home: Creating a Place You and Your Family Will Lovephoto-16
Gardens are places of life, growth, rebirth.
Working with plants and soil is a therapeutic experience to our stressed-out lives. You don’t have to have acres of land or an emerald thumb in order for gardening to be part of your life. Your garden can flourish in whatever space and time you have to give it.
In our first apartment, Bob and I barely had room for ourselves, let alone space for a garden plot.
But I was able to unleash the spirit of the garden even in that tiny place by setting out some small pots of geraniums in a kitchen window that received early-morning sun. Before long, blooms had brightened our little home.
Soon after, I added pots of herbs on that kitchen shelf.
Bob was amazed that I could season our meals with a pinch or two of herbs from my window garden.
That was just the start of our apartment garden. When I went to the market, I would occasionally pick up a potted plant in a gallon container.
Those little “instant gardens” would travel around the apartment, ending up at the middle of the breakfast table while we ate, on the bathroom vanity while I took a bubble bath, or on the nightstand while we flipped through magazines and dreamed of the beautiful landscaped grounds we would love to have someday.photo-14
When we lived in the Barnes Barn, Bob and I had plenty of room for that magazine garden we wanted so many years ago.
Our home was on garden tours in our city. We loved to hear people respond, “How beautiful it is!” “How can you ever leave it to travel?” “What a relaxing retreat center!” and especially “I would love to live here!”
We also heard, “Why go to all that trouble to keep it up?”
For me, the answer to that question goes back to those early years when God was preparing my heart to appreciate His beauty through our garden.
At that point I just knew I wanted a flower in a vase by my bed or in the center of our dining room table.
Over the years, God used that simple desire to get me outside.
For Bob, who comes from a three-generation farm family, the spirit of the garden goes back even further.
Bob truly has a green thumb. It seems that everything he plants grows. He is the one primarily responsible for helping our garden flourish so beautifully around our home.
But Bob and I both love being involved with growing things.
Even the hard work-weeding, checking for insects, watering-feels purposeful and worthwhile.
And then what joy to see a blanket of green outside our door or the bright splashes of color on our patio!
What a thrill to pick that first plum, orange, avocado, bean, corn, zinnia, marigold, or squash in our spring and summer gardens!
We are so much richer because of our love for plants, flowers, and trees and our involvement in their growth.photo-33

A Deeper Harvest

Gardening yields so much in our lives. It lets us participate in God’s process of creation. It provides wonderful opportunities for teaching and sharing and giving. But I have found that being part of a garden yields a deeper harvest as well.
Over the years, gardening has taught me a lot about who I am as a woman of God. Through many hours of working alone and with others-tilling, planting, mulching, weeding, pruning, re potting-I have learned to “slow down and smell the roses.”
I have moved closer to a healthy balance between “doing” and “being.”
That’s because the garden forces me to go at God’s pace, taking time from a busy schedule of writing, traveling, and speaking to do the simple daily chores that lead to beauty.
It’s an eternal rhythm: Sometimes I work, sometimes I wait… then God does the growing and I enjoy the results.
I thank God regularly for his gift of the garden.
Wouldn’t you love to have visited the first garden God created? It must have been beautiful-fragrant, fruitful, lushly green, yet ordered and balanced.
I trust that my life can somehow reflect that same beauty.
Yours can too.photo-23
If your life is “farmless” because you have become convinced that you have a “black thumb,” you can still fill up that void with something green or something blooming. You don’t have to turn your home into a greenhouse.
Just pay a visit to a nursery or the grocery store or a florist-or visit a neighbor whose thumb is green.
Pick a plant or a flower that makes you feel good, and put the pot or vase on your table or nightstand.
If necessary, get instructions for the care and feeding of your new plant friend-and follow them.
Then stand back and wait for the joy of the garden to begin transforming your life.

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