Grandpa was a gardener; in fact he was a great gardener. He worked for the Laird up at the big house in Clackmannanshire, Scotland. It became his occupation. He took up the job as a gardener when he came home from the ‘great war’. He eventually became the head gardener so he must have been good. His garden at home was as beautiful as the garden he was paid to look after – he was more than the sum of the parts. He understood what he was doing and gained great results. It was his vocation. Being a soldier was not his vocation.
Mum and dad were great gardeners, my sister and brother in law have a great garden, and friends have great gardens…
But I am not a gardener!
There is a kind of certain despair that comes across the faces of my friends when I talk about gardening because they know I am talking eloquent rubbish and I don’t really have a clue. They are very kind and listen to me with a sympathetic ear (or smirk behind their hands, this being more often the case). Occasionally I get something right and this can raise a small cheer. Over the years I have spent lots of money buying plants and herbs. Recently I went to a specialist rose centre to buy some ‘bare root roses’ (?). When asked by the assistant what kind of roses I wanted my mind went blank and I blurted out coloured ones! The assistant then opened up a one sided dialogue all about roses, I was rooted (no excuses for the pun) to the spot trying my best to show I was taking in all this information and then she suddenly said, ‘I hope that helps?’ I replied, ‘Tall roses please!’. What a dunce! I am not a gardener.
So I have two strategies.
Strategy 1: When I plant (bury) something in the ground, for example a tall yellow flower, I pray over it just in case I am performing a funeral service! If it survives then I realise that I have indeed picked up the gardening genes from my grandpa.
Strategy 2: The right to life, enjoy a wilderness garden where nature takes its course, only be brutal to the grassed area and cut it when needed. No burial services! So from being made in God’s image, the great gardener Himself, I don’t think I was vocationally around when the garden gene was distributed.
And gardens appear so often in the bible; the Garden of Eden, The garden in Song of Solomon, Garden of Gethsemane, and Mount of Olives. There are Cedars of Lebanon being harvested, Hyssop, Cinnamon, and Myrrh and many more references.
Planting is everywhere in the bible,
‘You will plant vineyards’, ‘I built gardens and parks.’, and ‘You will be like a well-watered garden. ’, ‘Those who work the land….’.
It is strange is it not with so many references to God’s perfect creation, gardens, plants, seeds and tree’s that Jesus didn’t say ‘I will make you a gardener of men.’
He did however say, “I will make you fishers of men”.
I don’t dislike gardening, it’s the death toll that worries me; but, I do like being a fisherman. I can do that.
Image Credit: Annie Spratt