Though news headlines are stalled with strife, this week the garden is buzzing with life! The first day of summer and Father’s Day have ushered in National Pollinator Week, and our national birthday just ahead, July 4th, will round up the celebrations. What moments to gather in the garden with a cheery backdrop of flowers blooming bright! For such a time as this, I am delighted to bring you a book review of Mini-Meadows, Grow a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere Around Your Yard, by Mike Lizotte, owner of American Meadows seed company.
Find Mike Lizotte’s heartfelt fun and joy on every page of this book, blessed by the pleasing-to-the-eye photography of Rob Cardillo, GardenComm Media Awards winner. Together they will help you transform your garden with the wonder of wildflowers—a perfect read for the start of summer.
Let Lizotte’s life-long love of seed gardening refresh you with inspiring ideas. Easy-to-follow how-to’s, beautifully illustrated flower guides, and straightforward instruction make Mini-Meadows a must-have in your gardening book library.
Join me in discovering the subtle ways Mini-Meadows leads us through planting little flower patches to experiencing beauty and insight from God’s Word.
Learning from Flower Fields
Jesus nearly commanded his followers to plant meadows and learn from them:
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!”
Luke 12:27-28 NIV
Mini-Meadows takes us through the flow of all we need to know in imagining, preparing the ground, sowing seeds and planting starts to create meadow-like flower displays in the garden. The book offers a practical approach that both beginners and seasoned gardeners will appreciate.
Interestingly, author Mike Lizotte included a section on “grass of the field,” as Jesus called it, outlining favorable native grasses to accompany flower selections.
Grasses compliment meadow flowers. Their different textures, heights, and colors offer lasting color throughout the growing season, and their seed heads provide food for the birds and offer shelter during the winter months.Mike Lizotte, Mini-Meadows, page 119
Lizotte’s quotation touches the heart of the pollinator garden movement, to grow awareness for the winged visitors to our gardens and plant more to welcome and feed them. How fascinating that we are lead back to the birds mentioned in the beginning of this Luke passage:
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
Luke 12:24 NIV
Flower fields blooming with beauty, lively with birdy fly-bys, allude to the deeper spiritual synergy of God’s faithfulness. Surrounded in the dynamic life of flower fields, we are to consider that our hope to provide for pollinators patterns God’s passion to provide for us.
Learning as You Go
What I treasure about Lizotte’s writing is the gentle way in which he encourages a sense of experiment, cultivating simultaneously our initial excitement and our longterm endurance for the gardening life.
When you open your seed packets, start by just noticing all the different seed sizes and shapes. They’re amazing! Spend some time sifting them through your hands and observing. How many different varieties are you able to identify?Mike Lizotte, Mini-Meadows, page 50
He coaxes our reflection and invites our viewpoint; Lizotte helps us embrace the trial-and-error reality that becomes the testing ground of every garden and gardener’s heart. Like King Solomon advised:
In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.
Ecclesiastes 11:6 NKJV
Lizotte reveals all kinds of flower species and lays out different landscape situations in which the various flower types should succeed. His enthusiasm helps us make a way through setbacks we may encounter – unknown weather, at the very least – and learn as we go.
Your meadow will continue to evolve as it matures, offering you a chance to play with your plantings… A variety might fade, or a plant just doesn’t take; that simply means there’s room to try something new!Mike Lizotte, Mini-Meadows, page 74
Mini-Meadows sets our sights on succeeding seasons, and guides us to linger in continual opportunities and work them for good. The book teaches the on-going nature of cultivating nature in our yards. “…add a bench or chair so that you can sit and observe the comings and goings in your meadow,” Lizotte gestures.
Learning from Fathers
The gem of this book, however, is the sweet glimpse into Lizotte’s lifelong passion for seeds and the seed business, and his way of passing on his love to his daughter. What began as high school part-time work grew and became his whole life! With a business partner, he was eventually able to buy the seed company from the owners whom he served for years. God bless America! that such a possibility could come true, a land where we are free to pursue our happiness’.
Catch his story in the book’s preface, and enjoy how much more wonderful it is for him to share flower-joy with his daughter (and us!) knowing his livelihood came from small beginnings.
My daughter and I keep a journal to identify all the different birds and insects that visit our meadow each year, including which flowers they prefer and which seeds they eat. Monarchs, fritillaries, swallowtails, luna moths, honeybees, and Japanese beetles are just a few of the critters that we’re fortunate enough to have visit us every year.Mike Lizotte, Mini-Meadows, page 69
In Hebrew, the word for seed, Zera’, is synonymous with offspring, or descendants—children. “The Seed Man,” as Lizotte playfully calls himself, is truly that, one who is producing in succeeding generations the ways of sowing and reaping a delightful life, just like a father.
With each of you we were like a father with his child, holding your hand, whispering encouragement, showing you step-by-step how to live well before God, who called us into his own kingdom, into this delightful life.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 The Message
Let us circle back to Jesus’ conclusion for considering the wildflowers: to know God the Father’s great joy:
My little flock, don’t be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father’s great joy is to give you His kingdom.
Luke 12:32 VOICE
Prayer: O Father, thank you for so many blessings You put in our lives. Thank you for the chance to behold your beauty in Mini-Meadows. Not only do I receive instruction on how to plant a “little patch of colorful flowers” to see and enjoy in my garden, but thank you for eyes to see the greater work of your faithfulness. You provide and You guide; You are generous and You are excited to give me your loving best. Stir my heart for your kingdom, O Lord, in the happy patter of planting flowers.
A special thank you to Mike Lizotte, for a gifted copy of Mini-Meadows to provide this review, and for American Meadows generous support of GardenComm, Garden Communicators International.
Visit www.americanmeadows.com for more of the story, and for seeds to start your mini-meadow!
For more gardening book reviews from your favorite GardenComm authors, click here for Book Reviews in the Devotions Blog
For more on God’s great Seed story, see “Zera’ & Seed Saving” from the Devotions Blog, www.gardenindelight.com/zera-seed/
Read more devotions from the Garden Work section in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible on Planting, focused on flowers, beginning on page a-23 and on Propagating, by seed, beginning on page a-29
©2020 Shelley S. Cramm