Back to the Garden of Eden
Gardens are used to produce food, but mean much more than that. I just was on a tour of a greenhouse operation in the Fraser Valley called "Garden Back to Eden" which attempts to pursue earth-friendly practices as much as possible, specializing in heirloom tomatoes.
The air in the greenhouse was rich with the scent of tomatoes and basil, and hummed with the bumblebees the owner/gardener, Michael Allen, hires as pollinators. Touring the greenhouse with Michael on a sweltering spring day (100 degrees F) brought on an intense awareness of how these green plants were functioning.
A few weeks earlier I stood in one of God's finest gardens on Salt Spring Island. The 70 acre Trinity Western University Crow's Nest Ecological Research Area is a beautiful ecosystem/garden.
The garden was formerly cultured by First Nations peoples who grew camas and other lilies by setting fire deliberately to the dry forests that are found in this area of Vancouver Islands and the Gulf Islands. This created the open, Garry oak meadow habitat that we enjoy at Crow's Nest. Now my research efforts at Crow's Nest are focussed on trying to restore it to that state - gardening research basically...
One lily that really captivated the class of 13 TWU students exploring the garden with me was the chocolate lily (pictured below). Gardens are designed to awaken our contemplative senses, which in turn were designed by God to inspire in his gardeners to think green thoughts.
Actually, although I immensely enjoyed interacting with the students for 3 weeks on Salt Spring Island, one of the most memorable "garden experiences" happened when I found myself all alone in a Garry oak meadow on Crow's Nest. The sun was shining, I sat and contemplated life for a while, and then I took a perfect, 20 minute afternoon nap, resting in God's goodness.
The sun is blessings us in these long, warm spring days, growing the green and awakening our senses. Have you been back to the garden lately?