Fill the world with fennel…at least that’s what God’s plan feels like in our summer garden! Our few fall seedlings and winter tufts have grown and become a forest of smoky foliage and gentle golden flower crowns that mega-dazzle! I am in awe that this cool season annual is still with us. Our dill, celery, carrots, and parsley plants—the full range of herbs and spices with umbrella-shaped flowers—are long gone in summer’s sizzle. Have you had a plant surprise you this simmer with mesmerizing presence? There is nothing like it! Add yours to the comment section below and inspire all of us for next year’s garden planning.
How did I decide to grow fennel? Captivated by God-crazed curiosity, I tend to stick to Bible species when choosing new plants for our yard. Most translations of Scripture do not name fennel, and none of my favorite resources on plants of the Bible include fennel in their plant lists, though the spice is native to the Mediterranean region.
However, a special family story led me to dig deeper into this flavorful umbel herb…aren’t our gardens a sweet collection of our unique family sagas?? Grandma’s iris, dad’s boysenberries, cedar saplings from a friend’s cabin in the woods—our gardens become living, botanical scrapbooks holding holy connections to the ones we love.
It all began with a salad. My mother and I had an amazing opportunity to visit New York before the corona, and a meandering walk through Little Italy one evening landed us at Amici’s for dinner. My mom order the Tri – Colore salad, a mix of bitter herbs’ radicchio and endive, topped with a surprise ingredient, sliced fennel bulb. She loved the salad, the evening, the trip together…filled with cherished chats, layered with memories of her childhood trip to New York with her mother and grandmother. Once home, she promptly recreated the salad for my stepdad, her way of capturing and sharing the treasured time together, increasing the love.
You must know my mother’s passion when she discovers a delicious recipe. It’s enthralling! Her zeal for herbal ingredients has infused my whole life with pursuit of such fresh tastes. Mirroring her enthusiasm, I planted fennel ‘smokey bronze’ last fall, hoping to serve her a homegrown version of our New York salad, a fun way to continue our adventure.
Then I stumbled upon it: a chance mention of the old world herb in the Amplified Bible translation.
When he has leveled its surface, does he not cast abroad [the seed of] dill or fennel and scatter cummin [a seasoning], and put the wheat in rows, and barley in its intended place, and spelt [an inferior kind of wheat] as the border? [And he trains each of them correctly] for his God instructs him correctly and teaches him. Isaiah 28:25-26 AMPC
O Lord, what greater joy! It is a small connection; and of course, we are free to plant any plants in our gardens. Yet how much more endearing to connect plants to God’s Word, to find some Word or phrase that seems to describe our sensational experience and place it in the context of God’s story.
Fill the World
Enamored by the multitude of dawn-hued flowers, I have gathered a few Words reflecting God’s desire to fill the world with the knowledge of Him, His wonderful counsel and magnificence that Isaiah recounted. Take these verses to the abundantly blooming flowers in your summer garden for a sweet memory of your own with the One who plans to fill you with His love.
When they shall rush in unto Jacob, Israel shall blossom and bud, and they shall fill the face of the world with seed. Isaiah 27:6 DRA
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. Genesis 9:1 NIV
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14 KJV
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10 MEV
…as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth… Numbers 14:21 NIV
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the seas. Habbakuk 2:14 MEV
You will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God. Ephesian 3:19 NOG
All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent. Isaiah 28:29 NIV
You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy. Oh, they’re so glad in your presence! Festival joy! The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings. Isaiah 9:3 The Message
Here’s the knowledge you need: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be My witnesses, first here in Jerusalem, then beyond to Judea and Samaria, and finally to the farthest places on earth. Acts 1:8 VOICE
Make sure that no one misses out on God’s wonderful kindness. Hebrews 12:15 CEV
Prayer: O Lord, how wonderful you are! Down to the details of lacy leaves and pinpointed fennel flowers, in and through the intricacies of my day, my heart, and my family life, You know me. And how I long to know you back! Thank you for your Words that teach me, guide me, instruct and delight me….and thank You for all the flowers You use to bring me back to your Words when I lose focus. Yes, Lord, let your loving-kindness fill the world. Energize my hospitality so that through me You make sure no one misses out on your wonderful grace.
Renee’s Garden Seeds is my source for ‘Smokey Bronze’ fennel seed, Foeniculum vulgare var. Visit www.reneesgarden.com/fennel-smokey-bronze (affiliate link) to order seeds for your fall garden
Find more Herbs & Spices from the Bible for your garden in the Garden in Delight Plant Guide, www.gardenindelight.com/plant-guide/
Learn more about the Bible’s Umbelliferae herbs in a light-hearted poem “U is for Umbels” from A-to-Z Primer of Plants from God’s Word
Enjoy another Devotion on Isaiah 28:23-29 in “He Knows,” in the Intimacy with God in the Garden series in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, page 795
Photo Credits: ©2021 Shelley S. Cramm
CEV notes Scripture quotations taken from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.
DRA denotes the Douay–Rheims Bible is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English made by members of the Catholic seminary English College, Douai, France. It was first published in America in 1790 by Mathew Carey of Philadelphia. Several American editions followed in the 19th and early 20th centuries; prominent among them the Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition Version. This edition of the text has been converted from the 1899 edition of the John Murphy Company, Baltimore, Maryland, and is in the Public Domain.
KJV denotes Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version published in 1611, authorized by King James I of England, which is public domain in the United States.
MEV denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. All rights reserved.
MSG denotes Scripture quotations taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries.
NIV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
NOG denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Names of God Bible copyright © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group, 6030 East Fulton Road, Ada, MI 49301. All Rights Reserved.
VOICE denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2012 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.