“A gentle plea for debris” could almost be the theme of this message. You see, it was the quiet beauty of fallen leaves on a sidewalk that spoke to me each day as I left the inn where I was staying. Softening my footfalls on the unyielding concrete, they daily became smaller chips of color that had me (somewhat hazardously) looking down as I walked.
The benefactor that had dropped these sunset-hued leaves was the noble Sugar Maple, a tree that populates northern states in abundance, but is not so widely planted in southern landscapes. This tree attains the stature of a large oak over many years, and should be allowed suitable space to that end. The Sugar Maple colors the cooling days of fall with yellows, orange and scarlet – some trees having a single color while another individual may have all of them.
Not every Sugar Maple is thrilled to live Down South, if you believe the experts. There are cultivars who have shown indifference to our southern conditions, however, and are widely available. So, if you care to plant a tree that will give you the true “fall” experience, I would have you consider this pancake-sweetening botanical treasure….That’s right, the same one that has been filling the voids of waffles and making Aunt Jemima smile for all these years, the Sugar Maple.
God Likes Toys
“God likes toys.” The phrase came to mind as I scrolled through the images. A little time on my hands had given me the opportunity to search for pictures of my favorite plants, and this is a sort of “active meditation” that I enjoy. The eyes thus entertained, the mind is free to wander at its own pace, and will occasionally trip over a box containing a truth.
The Things that may be known about God can be clearly seen in the things He has created, we are told, and I believe this is so. To observe that God is brilliant or powerful or creative is to damn with faint praise… But it is another of the attributes of divinity that is less publicized. He has fun.
What else can be the reason for flowers whose petals are striped or spotted outlandishly? For petals painted like grandad’s loud plaid pants, or twisted or curled like a New Year’s Eve noisemaker? Because it is fun. It shows a sense of playfulness that belies the image of the stern and sour whip cracker.
Love is lavish in all its expressions, and a little time spent in the greenhouse or garden will attest to the fact that He also likes to see us amused and fascinated. Isn’t that what toys are for? God likes toys, and he has made enough for us all.
To Lift One’s Soul
Gardens are for people. The purpose of making a garden is to create an extraordinary place for people. Like any art, we can evoke emotions and promote thought within our gardens. At its best, a garden is a sculpture through which our friends may stroll, a sculpture populated by miracles and charm, wonder and beauty.
Like a song, the possibilities of a garden are without limits. Also, like music, there should be purpose and structure, as well as mood and movement to a garden. A collection of plants is not necessarily a garden. Perhaps there should be another term for the various groups of plants humans put together, such as vegetable patch, flower bed, landscape, mailboxscape…
The perfect garden draws us in and makes us feel apart from the vulgar world. The perfect garden causes us to pause and see true beauty, to draw us close to our creator and thereby give us peace.
Our first home was in a garden, we have sought that presence ever since.
It was in the mid-1970’s that Jeff was introduced to the beauty of plants. His brother Mark had begun growing Orchids in their room and Jeff was intrigued by them. Looking through the catalogs that began to arrive in the mail, he learned of flowers of a grace and exoticism that has never ceased to fascinate him.
Thus inspired, Jeff received a degree in horticulture from the University of Georgia. He was fortunate to make the acquaintance of Ryan Gainey, who introduced him to the concept of a “garden.” As a suburban kid, Jeff had only known of “landscaping” and “yardwork,” words that depress him to this very day.
Jeff began his own business in Atlanta in 1986, and moved to Augusta in 1995. He is still making gardens and is very much energized by the possibilities of the outdoor spaces around our homes. He also works in ceramics, metal, stained glass, and wood, making garden accessories and necessities.
Jeff has recently “donned his beret” and begun painting scenes that he wants to see. He seeks inspiration always, and hopes people feel good when in his places and looking at his work.
Punch and Judy“That’s the way to do it!”
Iowa State UniversityGo Cyclones!