Once again, GardenComm International members united from across the country and across ever-growing modes of communication, converging on the gardens of Salt Lake City last week. Reunions among colleagues were as energizing as ever, spurring each other on to carry on with the great message of getting out to the garden to as many people as possible.
Whether you enjoy digging in the soil yourself or strolling public gardens and leaving the work to professionals, we have a media outlet for you! Books, magazines, Facebook and Instagram stories and posts, garden tours, YouTube channels, newsletters, public TV programs – where there is a plant or garden, we have a garden communicator eager to proclaim it!
True to our nature, we were all joyful to get out to the gardens of Salt Lake City; the majority of our networking takes place where we are all at home: in the garden.
Gardens of Salt Lake City
Our tours took us from private gardens to the vast public spaces around Temple Square, from perennial plant growers to food production farms, from a demonstration garden to smartphone irrigation demonstration. Through these myriad moments, I saw steady reminders of God’s Word in produce, trees, and posies: Join me in simple, snapshot devotions from the gardens of Salt Lake City.
The Lord’s Feast
Growing food is a great joy for the people at this meeting ground of mountains and desert, nestled next to the Wasatch Mountain Range. On our adventure to the Utah State University Botanical Center, tour guides encouraged us to pick and eat all we wanted from their demonstration garden—grounds filled with vegetables in rows, raised beds overflowing with herbs, a densely-draped grape arbor, abounding raspberry borders, and an heirloom orchard. Popping the sweetest strawberry in my mouth that I have ever tasted, and later as we toured Snuck Farm and private gardens to the south, it occured to me that a vegetable garden implies a feast!
Productive gardens are a personal invitation, a nudge to summon your neighbor; the more-than-one-can-eat abundance of leafy green, peppers, tomatoes, melons, onions, apples, artichokes, etc. practically dictate that we invite someone to dinner! Ultimately, this points us to the Lord’s feast. The Lord has celebration in store for us, which seems to make every garden growing food, then, a grace and whisper of the laden table He has prepared:
On this mountain the Lord of Armies will prepare for all people a feast with the best foods, a banquet with aged wines, with the best foods and the finest wines.
Isaiah 25:6 GW
Taste and see that the Lord is good
Psalm 34:8 NIV
I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 8:11 NIV
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Psalm 23:5 KJV
After Jesus had finished speaking, one of the guests said, “The greatest blessing of all is to be at the banquet in God’s kingdom!”
Luke 14:15 CEV
Trees of the Lord
Our visit to the monumental expanse of the Mormon Temple complex left me rejoicing over a magnificent sight: Tucked in the heart of Temple Square is a specimen cedar of Lebanon tree! LDS missionaries relayed that this tree had been carried over personally from the holy land by a church member near the time of the establishment of modern Israel, to be transplanted in Salt Lake City. It is my personal mission to catalogue our country’s treasury of this splendid tree, so it was a delightful discovery.
The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted…How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all…May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works…
Psalm 104:16, 24, 31 NIV
link to the full Psalm 104 passage
Word of the Lord
Contrasting these massive landscape encounters was our time at Healing Homes and Garden, a set-apart, intimate refuge created as a solace for cancer care at the Intermountain LDS hospital. Landscape architects converted sideyards of two neighboring, historic houses, remodeled by the hospital for longer-term care patients, into a central garden offering sheltered sitting areas and a chance to breathe outdoors.
Planted with showy prairie ornamentals and wildflowers-turned-garden plants, the billowy masses of grasses are uplifted by subtle shifts in air currents. It is a slow-down space, a gentle garden expression of walkways and wispy breezes. The plantings resound softly the ancient Words of Isaiah, with a theme echoed by the angel Gabriel:
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8 NASB
No Word from God will ever fail.
Luke 1:37 NIV
Prayer: O Lovely Lord, thank you for the beauty, blessing, and steadfastness we have in Scripture, and thank you that you have connected your Word to earth and garden so we will never forget! Continue to open my eyes to your ways and Words all around me, as I linger and delight in the land.
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©2019 Barbara Wise, GardenComm members assembling for group picture, “Herding Cats,” she called it in her dry wit!
©2019 Shelley S. Cramm
Cover Image – welcome a fresh morning at Healing Homes and Gardens through the entry gate