Spending Time with The Master Gardener

This day, a misty, rainy day of messy weather, was the second day of learning for me and a few others. My sweet friend graciously drove us into the heart of the city to an arboretum classroom where we participated in a Gardening Study School sponsored by the National Garden Clubs, Inc.

It is always fun to learn, don’t you agree? To peek into a new topic, explore something new and mind-stretching, is something I enjoy immensely. I am one who has always craved immersing myself in discovery. In my school days, I was that one who left her locker lonely while all of the books filled my arms instead. Cradling textbook, fiction and biography, my favorite moments were spent in a quiet spot devouring words and still it is a thing that I love.

After fortifying both body and brain with bagels, fruit and coffee, we all settled into the planned course.

As we dug deep into the topics, notebooks filled with quickly scrawled tidbits for us to remember and our world expanded.

I think I love gardening, although I spend less time there than I would like, because of its testimony. Let me explain.

As learned speakers shared their lessons and I scribbled furiously the words I wanted to take home, my mind wandered. Down a familiar path, I went–A path to THE CREATOR.

Topics of light, humidity, annuals, perennials, they all boasted of His handiwork. As garden design was discussed, I was reminded that we are image-bearers, us the creation of His creating. As we imitate, we bring honor and testify of our Maker and Designer.

The studious learning about the cellular structure, the perfect balance of water and wind and soil and sun, all bring glory to THE SON!!!

At the end of day one, we turned in test packets to measure our retention and then gathered our small band and moved outdoors. Seasoned hands pointed as gentle-voiced guides led us through magnificent gardens adorning the property. Years of planning, plotting and planting was evidenced and appreciated by our merry gang. Walking among flower-strewn paths, inviting benches, and gurgling pond, we were awed by the efforts of knowledgeable and tireless  laborers.

As we stood under shades of great branches, the breeze whispered His name. Hues spoke of His artistry.  Mighty grasses and tiny blooms reminded me of His strength and attention to detail. As birds flitted through filtered light, I saw His provision.

Day two, no less eager to breathe in more, and  in spite of the early alarm clock, my friend and I trekked eagerly through the city’s traffic patterns and settled in. Again breakfasted, we started our morning with another expert.

Digging deep into the topic of environment, weather, seasons, it was evident of God’s perfect harmony. Plants, cultivars, nutrients, all of the topics came and were detailed to describe the ways of His spoken world. As we dug deep into the soils, my soul was deeply satisfied by this One who spoke it all into being. In absolute balance and beauty, we see Him all around us. How else would we be able to attempt the botany and biology of growth, if not for being handiwork of His? Us, a glimpse of His greatness, a minute reflection of His brilliance, how else would scientist/gardeners attempt such as cultivars, farming, feeding hungry?

With the close of our last day, another testing and then images were shared in videos.  As I watched and listened, I learned–learned how ecology and entomology and environment shouted Him again.  The attention to design, detail, distinctions and character of each little bug, butterfly, bee, they all attest to His attention to the least and the lowly, the loved.

I know the classes were meant to share science, but for me, the spiritual was far greater. I am so blessed to have been able to attend this. I can hardly wait to work in my garden tomorrow and say a prayer of gratitude.

As I came home and meditated on all that I had learned, and spent some quiet time in the Word, I came across several more verses pertaining to the garden theme. I will share a few below. (Also, any of the photography and artwork above is available as prints and cards for your enjoyment).

“The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which  was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived. ” Daniel 4:20-21

“I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees.” Ecc 2:5

“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Mt. 13:31

“O you who dwell in the gardens, with companions listening for your voice, let me hear it.” Song of Solomon 8:13

“Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits. “SoS 4:16b

“He is a lush plant before the sun, and his shoots spread over his garden.” Job8:16

“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Gen 1:29

“And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Gen. 1:11-12

Send me some of your favorite garden tips, photos and inspiring thoughts below or on my social media spots. I would love to hear from you!



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Budding Gardener

gar-den-ernoun, a person who tends and cultivates a garden as a pastime; any person who is skillful at growing plants; someone who enjoys working in their own garden growing flowers, or vegetables.

(my goal…).

Growing up, I didn’t do much in the way of gardening, but remember following some of my family members down the sun-warmed rows of their gardens.

I appreciated the way the cooks in my family could turn that harvest into some of the tastiest meals that I have ever eaten. There is nothing quite like a meal of fresh garden produce, crowned with a wedge of southern cornbread and ripe tomato. 

I have always loved plants and enjoyed the beauty they add to any decor. Regardless of your style, there seems to be a plant or flower to accent perfectly.

Victorian antiques look lovely with classic roses, a bit of southern charm is always bettered by the multiple lacy petals of a peony, the scent of a lilac, or a lazy droop of wisteria. How about a rockscape with succulents?

Whether indoors or out, plants, flower, trees, and vines seem to make everything better.

My kids used to say that I had a brown thumb, because regardless of the variety, plants and flowers just seem to wither in my presence.

Perhaps it was less about my skills and more about having 3 sons, very close in age, homeschooling them and having a home business, as well as my volunteering opportunities.

I tried to seek houseplants that thrived on neglect and low light at one point.

Later, moving into a larger home with a great sun-room, I again got hopeful about my chance to have lush houseplants and vases of fresh cut bouquets gracing my surfaces.

When we moved the kids off to college and had a little more free time, I became a little more focused on my houseplants, envisioned  turning a storage building into a potting shed, and started working more in my flower beds.

I tried to pick up tips, making notes in a journal, and scavenged yard sales and book fairs for good how-to books. Most good tips are timeless, even if the book seems a little outdated, right?


I confess, I never quite grew the sought-after flowers, nor did my veggies feed multitudes, but my journal became a lot fatter and we did have a few small triumphs and a funny story or two.

Like the year we tried a lasagna garden technique using our own compost mix, and grew the best accidental garden to date, from the seeds not- yet- broken- down in our compost. Also, since we lived in a small town and didn’t have one, I remember stopping by a well-known coffee bar to get large bags of used grounds for our garden each time that we traveled out of town. On our return trip, the entire SUV smelled like a fresh cuppa joe. One time, we added the coffee grounds, fresh compost, and soil to our raised beds, turned on the sprinkler and went inside to shower. Our sweet white pup found a lovely puddle formed from the runoff and happily dyed himself a nice shade of mocha….lol.

Upon relocating  to a different area, I decided that being in a new-to-me growing zone and not knowing anyone, it would be a good to join a garden club and solve both problems. Making friends in the club, I am constantly learning new things and bringing home fledgling cuttings to challenge my nurturing skills. I have completed one Landscape Design course so far with plans to continue more.

After moving around a few times to learn the area, the Hubs, Chloe, and I are happy homeowners now and steadily working on the landscape.

Well, enough for now. The garden is calling and I have much work to do.  I hope you enjoy seeing some of our latest blossoms.

Please feel free to share any garden tips you have in the comments and posts on my Facebook page, Traveling Ancient Paths, and sign up to get my blog and newsletter updates.

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. -Isaiah 61:11.



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