Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My script of joy, immortal diet,
y bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

~Sir Walter Raleigh

A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.

~Frank W. Boreham

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sisters of the Spade

My first really, truly gardening endeavor was at our first parsonage. Before that I was busy growing children, not plants.

In the annals of British gardening history, parsonage or vicarage gardens are legendary.  

Not so in my U.S. experience.  Generally they consist of an  uninspiring juniper hedge.  If the parsonage is of a certain age, there might be an old lilac. an old rose or two.  Nothing that would appear on a post card.

When we went to our first senior pastorate, the house was a classic shot-gun layout situated on a large corner lot.  It absolutely begged for a garden.

At that time too, I was becoming very interested in herbs, all sorts.  So when the head elder told me the board wanted to give me something special for the house for Mother's Day, I asked for manure and a rototiller.  Next morning the one was delivered, the other provided with workman.  By day's end, all was ready.  As the garden spaces grew to maturity, I was hooked.  Forever after a gardener.

As plantings have been left at every location during the years, I have discovered that incoming pastors and their wives will most likely let things wither and die.  If they don't just pull up and chuck the lot.  I soon had to settle the fact that I plant gardens, I leave beauty.  Because I must.

Only once was it different. That 'once' was a garden - flowers and herbs - around a charming old cottage situated in a mountain pass.  The house was more charming than practical, but the location along with it and the ministry proved one of our happiest times.

When I left that garden, the next pastor and wife also fell in love with the place.  In fact, she too was a lover of all things growing.  She tended my garden well and added to it making it a show place in that little village.

Now, in our new circumstances I share the garden with that former pastor's wife!  It is true, I have three beautiful, brilliant and ever so accomplished daughters.  Only one is a dirt-under-the-finger-nails sort.  So happily we share the same space, house and garden.  These days we are building a new garden together.

Fortunately, we mostly garden in the same style, love the same plants and disallow the same as well.  We don't do yellow except for calendulas and nasturtiums and Welsh poppies.  We don't do orange either, save for those exceptions given. We both love the old cottage garden stalwarts - violets, hollyhocks, foxgloves, peonies, lady's mantle, roses, sweet peas.  We are cultivating those in abundance.

She even, this gardening daughter/sister turned over her herb bed to me.
Wasn't that a thoughtful thing?

We are looking forward to this years' garden.  More than that we are looking forward to taking the occasional pot of tea together in it.

God is good!


  1. I can't wait till I can have a really, real garden of my own. Your thoughts make me so excited for that day.