An unspoken Love.

In the beginning
Love met flesh
Love is patient, love is kind.
Love was unspoken word.
A nameless unspoken feeling of connection.
Love was a muted rhythm of life.
An unsaid.
A unseen connection
Love dwelled deeply in flesh.

One day flesh was squeezed and squashed.
Pain held her so tightly .
That she screamed to word.
Flesh met Word
Word collided with loves feelings.
Feelings collided with loves word.
Love and word held flesh.
Flesh became present to light.

They held her tears.
They comforted her day and night.
They walked together
Slept together,
Held her in their arms,
They counted her tears.
They cried with her.
Love helped flesh understand word.

Love and word are patient and kind.
They grew flesh gently.
They watched her cry.
They become her rock.
They nurtured her unsaid words.
Love and word protected flesh.
They gave her hope
An a light to live by.
Flesh stayed safe in her garden.
She was still to afraid to tell of words existence.
The unnamed love was patient and kind.
Love dwelled deeply in flesh’s heart.

Everything was ready.
Waiting for flesh to speak loves name.
To give voice to the word .
To breathe the spirited light of action.
A deep wobbly breath of trinity.
The father son and the Holy Spirit
Dwelled deeply in her heart together.
They showed her their people.
Showed her one light of a love.

She saw her created self, her true self.
They walked with her as she left the safety of her garden
They walked with her as she moved into her neighbourhood.
Love action and word are generous and kind.
Love never fails.
The story is just beginning.

Love ( Jesus ) Word ( God) action ( Holy Spirit ).

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Finding my own gardens ……

Theology in context was the title of our weekend’s learning. We used Stephen Bevans contextual models. Each model very helpfully gives an horticultural analogy. This analogy formed a very practical part of our learning.
I’ve played and reflected these analogy’s and traveled with them on a slightly different path .Each reflection is personal to me. Each reflects a garden but more importantly it reflects the methods and tools that gardener used to transform the landscape.
When we change the landscape we create spaces to share our passions, our hopes and our dreams.
When I journey with God it’s that changing landscape that feeds my passions giving new hopes to old dreams.

Counter cultural – Stourhead
( The soil needs wedding and fertilising so that the seeds can be planted )

When it first opened in the 1740’s Stourhead was described as ‘a living work of art’. Some 300 years later the meandering paths, vistas and temples of Stourhead are still described as a living work of art.
The garden has physically grown and matured. The message this landscape holds still remains the same.
Stourhead is a serious garden that’s valued for historical and cultural reasons.
Rooted in tradition and mythology. Totally faithful to the principles of garden design. This garden was designed to impress.
It reminds me a lot of a Cathedral. Cathedrals are built on Holy sites. Yet the cathedral often does not resemble the original Holy site in which it was built.
To me Stourhead is a garden cathedral, the original much loved landscape removed and changed beyond recognition to build the garden we see today. Everything we see when we journey through Stourheads landscape is planted. Placed carefully to enhance the plan. The lake, and woodland all planted and designed. Nothing was left to nature. Nothing to chance. It was planned to create and impress.
It’s a personal landscape which expresses the hopes and beliefs of its creator Henry the magnificent.
Henry created a classical landscape with a central lake. To me this lake represents the alter within my cathedral.

The lakes reflects the theology of this landscape. It’s a inward reflection that changes throughout the seasons. But the message it reflects does not change.
Stourhead’s landscape asks us not to look beyond its borders. Their is no space for change or something new. The extravagance of Stourhead’s design challenges me. Yet I like it, but would never want to recreate it . I find reassurance and peace in its bold strong design.
It’s a place that gives a glimpse into the mind of the gardens creator. See his personal passion for wealth and design. Stourhead stands proud in what it believes .

It gives and alternative garden view that’s unprepared to change. Yet the world and its visitors are changing. I wonder if the families that picnic by the lake give any thought to the lakes creator.
The message that the creator wanted to give to the world has been lost in cultural change.
I wonder how many visitors to Stourhead’s lake see Henry the magnificences hope and dreams. See the unity harmony and the principles of garden design working within the landscape.
I wonder when we visit Cathedral’s do we see what the designer hoped we would see. Do we see or gain more understanding of God our creator or just see the extravagance of architecture.
The language of Stourhead and the language of our cathedrals speak of a creator that wants to share a vision in a communal landscape.
The creator challenges our thinking . Asks us to question .
The altar in the cathedral and the lake in Stourhead are only seen for their true purpose by those that already understand the voice of the creator.
We can all sit by the lake or kneel at the altar, but unless the context tells the story of the creator in a language we understand we may fail to see the true beauty and joy of the picnic.

Translation – Allotment
( Bring seeds and plant them in native ground ).

Alloments are an Individualistic communal environment. Each allotted plot holder working within the guide lines set down my their allotment association . Each plot holder translating what these guidelines means to them. Theirs flexibility, an authenticity in this individual communal place where people grow together. It’s a place that you grow what’s relevant to you. In a method that’s of your choosing.
Some choose to double dig. Some choose to plant through a weed suppressant membrane. I choose a method called no dig.
Each method translates the wording that “ plots must be cultivated “. Each method so very different but all produce crops.
It’s a place to share knowledge, a place where the harvest is abundant.
Growing seasonal local food means you become more in tune with the seasons. Plot holders naturally nurture new members. We want to share our knowledge, we know the joy in the harvest and
want others to feel that joy too. That moment when you realise “I grew that from a seed”.
The allotment holds onto and works with the traditions of the past. It’s an earthy visible process. That openly shares its highs and lows with its community. It’s a place open to all, regardless or wealth knowledge. Plot holders pay astonishingly low rents charged by local authorities, which is a powerfully consistent rejection of spiralling urban land market values.
Produce grown by allotmenteers cannot be sold commercially for profit. The standard treatment of a surplus or seasonal glut is to give it away. The allotment generates a community that’s gives . Its a combination of self-help and mutual aid… allotments are a place of doing.

Synthesis – Portmeirion.
( Cross pollination brings new life).

This is one of my favourite gardens . Wondering around this Italianate village the practical teaching of garden design were lifted from the text book, and illuminated my imagination. For the first time the terms borrowed landscape, unity, harmony, scale and proportion etc had a real meaning. I come alive when I step into this magical space. I bounce of the energy and the passion from which it was created.
Portmeirion takes the past and present to ensure its future will continue to transform the imagination of another generation .
It attempts to hold the vision of its creator Clough William Ellis, and the culture of its welsh heritage.
It has its own unique eccentric charm all balanced very precariously on the coastal edge of snowdonia national park.
It magically mixes tropical planting with traditional English gardens. The Echium’s tower over the roses as if they have always grown along side one another. It’s almost to strong a word to use but it’s almost perfect . Even the buildings have their own individual story to tell. Many have been relocated brick by brick to find Portmeirion as their final resting place. Portmeirion was built as a hotel and gardens today that still remains its primary function.
The hotel has changed over the years, once a exclusive retreat for the rich and famous. Today its doors are open to all . With self catering seaside apartments to five star accommodation all available on the same site.
Portmeirion is a little place of possibilities with a big heart.

Praxis – My garden
( A garden needs to be constantly weeded and tended; the work never ends; practise makes you a better gardener).

I struggle to say what my garden really means to me. It’s almost to much to put into words, it’s a unsaid spiritual connection.
My garden mirrors my personal changes: we grow together. The garden reflects me and vice versa.
Its a place of doing, a place of learning by trying. I don’t spend hours reading about gardening “I just garden”.
Somethings work and sometimes I just have to rethink and re sow.
My garden brings change in me. As I spend time in my garden so I spend time with God.
I seek answers and ask questions, ponder what’s next. What’s next in my life? What’s next to do in the garden?
I prune, weed, create, sow and tidy. I witness the complexity of nature in its simplest form. I can’t imagine a life without my feet in the muddy theology that drives my reflections.
I struggle in the winter when my place to grow falls sleepy. It’s October today and as I write I’m planning how this year I will put the garden to bed for winter. How the choices I make will effect my garden next year and in some ways effect me to.
My garden is a place to seek and grow in faith it’s my place, in my context.
When I open my garden to the public ( once every 24 months ) they don’t see what I see. They wander around and presume because I am the gardener I know all my plants by name. They want to know the variety of the roses. They wander from the mown paths. They feed my fish and drink tea and coffee. I feel totally exhausted at the end of each day.
I open my garden because I want to share what gifts God has given me. I don’t expect my visitors to understand how interwoven and connected our patterns of life really are.
Those that visit my garden comment that it’s peaceful, reflective and calming. What more could I ask for.

Transcendental – Hidcot
(If I cultivate my garden, another will be inspired to cultivate theirs).

Hidcot is nestled in a small Cotswold hamlet.
As historical gardens go, Hidcot is relatively modern . The garden we see today dates from 1907-1948.
It’s creator Lawrence Johnston started with a blank canvas putting into practice what he had learnt from studying gardening books such as The Art & Craft of Garden Making by Thomas H. Mawson.
He created a garden of rooms. Each room almost a complete garden within the larger garden. Each room reveals something different. Uses different planting and design techniques but all link together to create one garden.
It’s almost as if Johnston allowed his imagination to self seed around the garden. Each sowing creating something slightly different.
Each visit to Hidcot is unique . The changing seasons, the changing planting, the route you view this garden. create a colourful labyrinth that seeks adventure and understanding.
It’s a bilingual garden that speaks of mischievous colour and adventurous design.
Hidcot is about the journey, it’s a place to enjoy the garden, to see what inspires you, to excite your imagination.
Hidcot was created to be a garden that the public could enjoy. Even before it’s completion Lawrence, then in his 70s, began to put his mind to the long term future of the garden.  He first approached the National Trust in 1943 to see whether they would take over the garden.
He saw his garden as a gift that could keep giving.
Some see his garden as serious and over complicated. But I personally love the concept of Hidcot and have created my own garden using some of Lawrence’s techniques.
As you wonder through a garden of rooms you are never sure of what’s behind the hedgerow.
A garden of rooms creates mystery, a place to wonder and seek.

Anthropological – Bishops knoll
( The seeds are in the ground they just need to be watered and cared for)

Bishops Knoll is a wonderful hidden garden and woodland from the 19th Century. The site is on the outskirts of Sneed Park Bristol.
It has a fascinating history, first recorded as a medieval deer park, gifted by Henry VIII after the dissolution of the monasteries to Sir Ralph Sadler. It later became the grounds of a large late-nineteenth century estate house called The Knoll when it was developed into a series of terraced gardens, a sloping arboretum, orchards, lawns and paddocks. The house was used as a First World War hospital for Australian soldiers, set up and run by the then owner Robert Bush at his own expense.
Today the land is a nature reserve ,the woodland is slowly being uncovered discovering the lost ornamental terraced gardens and arboretum. The woodland contains a mix of mature exotic and ancient trees and planted native broadleaves including oak, ash, hazel and hawthorn.
Bishops knoll is a very special place. When you wander the terraces you get a glimmer of the past. But what excites me when you walk the paths you see the magic of a new way of doing. You see first hand what happens to a area when you allow nature to reclaim a place in which she once reigned .
The dormant land is being reawakened. When we stop trying to control nature beautiful things start to grow.
In bishops knoll the old roses that climb over a rusty rose arch have been given the space to flower. The land has been reclaimed by the people of bristol. The woodland is alive with wildlife, it’s a place for the people to form relationships with creation. To explore the past but to be firmly rooted in the now.
Bishops knoll is growing something new, the space which holds this something new is being listened to by people with a passion and love for this little oasis in the heart of Bristol.

Tree of Love.

My garden in no Eden, it’s certainly not paradise. It’s far from prefect. The makeshift bamboo trellis bows and bends under the weight of the overgrown kiwi plant. Wobbly uneven brick paths weave their way through the borders, rotten fences, cracked patio slabs all give my garden a natural unkept look.
These imperfections can only be found in the hard landscape of the garden. The landscape that is created and chosen by me. The soft landscape is living part of my garden; plants ,mulch, dirt, lawn, trees and shrubs all make up softscape.
The soft scape is that perfection that we often long to achieve. Perfection in such abundance cannot come from us. It can only come from our creator.
A magnificent Yew tree punctuates and dominates the soft landscape of my garden. Its hidden treasures are the Red berries ( Arils) each encasing the seed.
The yew tree has a strong christian heritage. It’s a tree that regenerates, it’s branches reach down into the ground to grow new stems, which then rise up around the old central growth as separate but linked trunks. After a time, they cannot be distinguished from the original tree. This self renewal is a symbol of death and rebirth, the new that grows out of the old.
It’s bark is distinctly Red, especially when wet from rain. The Red heartwood and White sapwood, symbolise the blood and body of Christ. It’s a tree that is full of stories mystery and folk tales.
The yew that grows in my garden has woven itself into my life story. It was under this tree that I was reborn, renewed found that love that comes from knowing Jesus.
I see this tree as my tree of life. I am not seeing it as the tree of life in Genesis and Revelation.  To me personally it’s a tree of new beginnings it’s a tree that loves.
Under its protective evergreen canopy my world changed. Its soft branches in the coolness of an April morning created a space filled with an abundance of love. A space that I received the love that come from Christ . It’s this love that changed me and changed my world forever.
There is nothing more powerful or joyous than the love that comes from Christ . To know this love is to live abundantly.
My yew tree lives abundantly in my garden and in my heart.
When we live abundantly our lives change, we see things that had until that time remained hidden. I see the perfectness in creation.
I see the Red Arils on my Yew tree and stop, pausing long enough to see God at work in my life and in my garden.

This weeks six on Saturday is a little homage to Taxus Baccata.

 

Genesis 2:8-9 The Message (MSG)

8-9 Then God planted a garden in Eden, in the east. He put the Man he had just made in it. God made all kinds of trees grow from the ground, trees beautiful to look at and good to eat. The Tree-of-Life was in the middle of the garden, also the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil.

Taking Love Home.

This week we had to make some really tough financial decisions. We cried as our beautiful old car was driven away by its new owner.
We reminisced as we packed up our scuba diving equipment ready to post out .
Looking around the garden I started to put plants aside, writing out price tags, attaching them to the plants that I had grown,loved and nurtured.
So much time care and love has gone into these plants, I decided they were not for sale. My plants are so much more than just a pretty flower they represent growth and love.
I sow the seeds but it’s God that grows them. I just provide the right conditions for that growth to take place. How could I possibly ask money for something so beautifully wonderful as the love that comes from God? I can’t .
I gave my plants away, asking only for a small donation ( to cover costs ) to those that could afford it. The donations I received will be spent on seeds. So I can keep on growing and keep on giving.
Each plant given represents love. Love freely given to carry on growing in someone else’s garden.
When you have God’s love it needs to be shared with others. As I shared my plants, I shared something of myself and my love for Jesus.
I have had a unexpected blessed weekend. Meeting so many new people, all with a interest in gardening all happy to take a little bit of love home with them.

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Colossians 2:7 Good News Translation (GNT)
7 Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.

The Jewel of the field.

I am very slowly planting a Bible garden ( featuring plants from the Bible). It’s a garden that has no plans other than to grow plants along side Scripture.
It’s bringing my world of Gardening into God’s word, inviting people to share something of me when they visit my garden.
Researching and discovering new plants excites me. I’ve purchased a Bible garden book to aid with planting and research. It’s a great book to inspire plan and think big.
One little gem of a plant featured in the book is Corn Cockle “ Agrostemma Githago “
The book explains it’s the weed in the parable of the weeds.

“ When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared “ Matthew 13:26.

I purchased some seed, sowed them, watered and loved them. They have in turn germinated, grown flowered and set seed. I’ve loved having this plant in my garden, It’s small purple flowers have delighted me, it’s seeds heads fascinated me.
I’ve learnt it’s genus name Agrostemma is derived from the Greek word argos ( field) Stemma ( crown) – the jewel of the field.
I’ve learnt how it’s roots, stems and seeds are poisonous. If harvested with the wheat any bread made that contains its seeds will be bitter and can even be fatal.
Its been a jewel in my garden this year a wild flower on the edge of extinction in abundance and thriving.
But it’s come in under total false pretences.
Doing a little more research the more probable weed in the parable of the weed is darnel “ Lolium temulentum” it’s also known as Cockle or false wheat.
It has many similarities to Corn Cockle both are poisonous and both spoil the wheat crop.
I’ve seen so much beauty in the Corn Cockle, I’m not going to pull it up just because it’s not what I thought it was, I cherish all my plants, they are all precious to me.
The Corn Cockle is not a weed it’s a loved plant that enhances my meadow and ensures the survival of a plant on the edge of extinction.
Its going to be another journey as I source and plant darnel. I’m excited to be sowing this monster sized grass, excited by the conversations it will cultivate. It will be a blessing to share the parable of the weeds when I open my garden next year.
This giant grass will totally over shadow my Corn Cockle with its small delicate flowers. But it’s story will also be told, It’s a story of double checking , cross referencing learning to evaluate the sources and information I use for reference.

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My Secret Garden .

I have a fully formed vision of my garden in its mature years. It’s my vision, it’s not committed to paper, It’s not something I share, it’s my secret garden fantasy. It’s a vision that includes my favourite trees all grown to maturity.
I imagine my Bramley apple tree, a mirror image of the one that once grew in my grandmothers garden. I picture my grandchildren climbing this tree ( grandchildren yet to be conceived !!! ). Taking the same joys and pleasures from this enormous tree as I did in my childhood.
I visualise myself padding in the steam that will flow through the garden. The stream blending into the landscape as if it had always been a there.
I see the wet footprints I leave behind as I exit the stream via a network of stepping stones. There are cold frames and glass houses full of pelargoniums, all beautifully displayed in clay pots on gravel benches.
My vision has no space for failure. In my mind the apple tree will reach maturity, The plants that I grow will not succumb to drought or disease.

The reality is gardening does not happen like this. Our lives are the same, we think we are going one way but God has different plans for us.
Meeting Jesus four years ago was the start of the most beautiful journey. My life plan changed overnight. My heart was suddenly aware of not being alone. The dark lonely path ahead was lit with love. My faith allows me to fall and stumble over and over again. I continue to stumble, each and every time I am picked up by God.
I have been changed from the inside, my world has been turned totally upside down. New words and a language unique to the church have wiggled their way into my world.
Discernment, vocation, are just some of the words that are shaping my journey today. My world is changing it’s getting bigger and every so slightly bolder. I am starting to see myself as the unique individual that God created and loves.
The word discernment has encouraged me to I reach into myself, to discover what lies in the deaths of my heart. This journey of exploring my vocation is emotionally draining but at the same time transforming and exciting. It’s ( This journey is on God’s time scale, not my timescale ) giving me a new direction to slowly grow into the person God created me to be.
It’s a journey with the vision that comes from God.

My six this Saturday shows my gardens journey over the last 4 four years.

Picture one is approx 4 years ago – Picture two is the present day.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

The Borrowed landscape – Shakkei

The Mendip hills has some stunning views across the Somerset Countryside. Last weekend’s walk was no exception. After a long climb, we were rewarded with the most breathtaking view.
The view made me smile. I saw the perfectness of nature, I felt the power and space of God .The view was limitless- God is everywhere. There are no edges or limits to God’s presence, nor are there places where God is absent. God is all-knowing. God is infinite.

The view inspired and excited me. I wanted to walk more, explore this landscape, wonder, climb higher and look harder into the landscape that surrounded me.
Obviously, this view was not available to all. Even good health would not guarantee the same view. The view changes throughout the seasons and alters by the weather and the time of day.
But what if we could expand that view so others might see it? See the landscape that inspired and surrounded me.
That’s exactly what the gardener does. This inspiration is nothing new and using it has been practised for centuries. This Asian concept of Shakkei is very simple. The gardener uses their surroundings to expand the view.

How exciting is that!- Using what surrounds us; what’s already in place and what God has already given us. To pull the eye outwards, to look beyond what we normally see.

The challenge is to make full use of what we have, looking at ways to incorporate the landscape that surrounds us. When we look further, we find space. We see views we have never seen and mountains we have yet to climb.

When we keep looking beyond our horizons, we find God at work in the community that surrounds us. Instantaneously, everything just gets bigger.
When we expand our landscape, we look beyond our boarders and create an infinite space where God makes the impossible possible.
It’s taking the awesome view that made me smile, taking that view to those that can’t climb the hill. When you take the view and share it with God’s love, we strengthen the relationships between ourselves and the landscape in which we live. Looking outwardly into the landscape, we expand not only our horizons but the horizons of those that share and live in our community.
As a gardener, when I look from my garden to the distant and adjacent landscape features, my garden expands exponentially.

We are called to live outside of ourselves. Called to by Jesus
into the landscape that surrounds us. We are called to love and serve one another, to be authentic, exciting and embracing.

My six this Saturday are 6 borrowed landscapes viewed from my own garden.
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Upward borrowing – The evening Sky.

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Adjacent borrowing – Mature trees in the nearby cemetery.

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Adjacent borrowing –  Tress in the neighbour’s garden expands our garden view.

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Adjacent borrowing – Corylus avellana Contorta(  Twisted hazel)  is high on my wish list for my own garden. I love its twisted branches and enjoy looking at this plant from over the fence.

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Adjacent borrowing – Tress in the neighbour’s garden expands our garden view.

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Adjacent borrowing – Betula pendula, ( silver birch)  This tree is a few gardens away but its stunning and makes my Ginko tree in the foreground  look rather small.

Mark 6-15
And he said to them, ” Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”.

Love is Patient.

My garden is a big part of who I am, it’s complicated.
My moods and temperaments, my hopes and dreams are all reflected in the garden. It’s my visual soul. My garden connects me to Jesus,to my thoughts. It helps me sort out and understand the questions that wiz around in my head,

Fellow blogger off the edge gardening has just shared her six on Saturday. Six things, in my garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything – a tool, a job completed, a flower, a leaf, wildlife, a pest, a success, anything at all!

Here’s my Six for this week.

Echium Pinnana
This giant Bi annual should have flowered. It’s two years old healthy great big leaves but no flower spike.
It’s a good reminder that we flower and fruit in Gods time not our time.
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Ginkgo Biboba
This is one of my favourite trees. It was the first tree I planted in my garden when we brought the house. Extract from the leaves are said to prevent age related memory loss.
That’s just one of the reasons I love this tree.I need it in my life and in my garden.

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Captalpa Bignoniodes
Another big tree, the latin name Bigniniodes sort of gives this away.
Yesterday’s blog was about how I am scared of the big. Today looking at the plants in my garden Its obvious that I enjoy the challenge of growing big. I embrace the unusual, the bigger the stranger the better.
This tree is planted totally in the wrong place but I love the statement that it makes “ Big is good “.

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A reflection on today.
It’s a picture about journeying going from one place to another trusting God. Even through I can’t see the destination it’s ok. Even if that distinction scares me it’s ok.
Even if the light is two bright for me to see with my eyes that’s also ok. It’s my heart that sees and feels Gods light. And it’s that love in my heart that I follow and listen to.

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Ficus Carcia
Yesterday this Fig tree was being deprived of light from a very overgrown Rowan tree.
In Pruning the Rowan tree I removed its fruit. The pruning will gave the fig tree light so it’s fruit can ripen.
Following Jesus means I have to make sacrifices. I can’t be fruitful if I’m being chocked by others and deprived of light.

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Leucanthemum Vulgare.
In plant symbolism the ox eye daisy represents patience.
I love all what this plant stands for. The beauty in the normal. Finding beauty in what others may see as Vulgare ( common ).

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1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Good News Translation (GNT)

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud;  love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs;  love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

I choose you.

I choose you.
I dug you up and moved you.
I knew you would take over, I knew you would spread and thrive in my garden.
You are greedy, feeding, chocking indiscriminately you grow.
Excluding light, depriving nourishment, yet I let you grow.
I choose you. I planted you.

I have spent the morning weeding my garden. One particular troublesome plant took up most of my time. It’s a plant that I desired and wanted. I knew it was a bad idea when I planted it. My want was bigger than my horticulture knowledge. My want was bigger than the hours needed to maintain this thug of a plant.
Removing and reducing this plant I was suddenly stuck how it was like forgiveness.
The plant was a problem that I was able to deal with. It has to be dealt with otherwise it will outgrow and destroy my garden.
It will stop other plants fruiting, it will prevent seeds from forming, it will overpower.
Kneeling in the garden digging out its invasive roots the power of Gods grace was overpowering.
That connectedness to the soil, to life and how fragile it can be. How much we need to nurture and hold creation.How God is in everything we do.
Removing this plant, decreasing its size, is not about control. It’s about acknowledging it’s spreading nature. Understanding that its roots run deep. It’s a woodland plant not really suitable for the garden. It’s doing what it was created for, to grow and survive.

In reducing its size I make space for light and fresh growth.
Reducing this plant was totally for my benefit ( not the plants ) Just as forgiveness is not for the other person but for me. Forgiveness gives me space, that allows me to grow. Forgiveness removes the choking thoughts and emotions, it breaks me free from the roots that trap me. Forgiveness allows light and warmth back into my life. Forgiveness is not an emotion but a choice that I must make. As with the gardening, it’s a choice.
My plant will keep coming back, keep trying to take over my garden. I will never stop having to reduce it. Just as all my life I will need to turn to God and ask for forgiveness. Without forgiveness, my heart will harden and I will fail to trust and see the beauty that surrounds me.

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Matthew 18:21-22 The Message (MSG)

21 At that point, Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
22 Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

Love the medium in which we grow – God is love.

The world in which we live in is a oversized self sufficient garden full of rockeries, ( mountains ) water features, ( seas and lakes ) ,beautiful lawns and vegetable patches that stretch for miles.

Personally my garden is a living part of me that I need to share. Its harvest of fruits, flowers and vegetables, the joy it gives me must be shared with others.
My garden is just as much a part of creation as the whole earth. It’s just a little bit of a whole in the oversized garden that is creation.

I want others to be able to take joy from creation. To be able to smile at a leaf, get excited by a flower not only see creation but feel and connect with creation and in turn God. The gift of creation from God to us is stunning. From sunsets to a tiny ant; it’s Perfect and beautiful.

When you have something wonderful it must be shared, sharing with others brings joy to us and to God. Opening eyes and hearts to the Christian world.

Gardens don’t grow on their own, they need freewill and careful guidance. Gardens left to totally alone often become overgrown a tangled mess. The joy from the overgrown garden can quickly disappear, restoring that garden to its beauty can seem an impossible task and often something you cannot do alone.

We are all gardeners of creation.

We all have a gift to give to the garden , we are all equal when we garden from our hearts lead by the Holy Spirit.
Some of us are born green fingered others need help to see what’s in font of us.
We are are capable gardeners tending and loving creation, with the gifts given to us from the Holy Spirit. Working the soil to its full potential seeing that creation exists not for humankind but for the glory of God and a joy to both.

God created the garden for joy. Through human sin and disobedience the garden was spoilt. We keep messing it up, we are human and get things wrong when we follow our freewill and fail to listen to God.
God created the garden: he is the only one that knows its true purpose ,It’s history, it’s inner beauty and the joy that it should give to its people and the joy it’s people should give back to the God the creator.

God sent his son to be our head gardener. Only though Jesus can we grow our gardens to maturity . Through prayer we learn, we are guided by the head gardener through the creator. We Listen, learn and grow in a Christ like way.
Even than we still get it wrong we are human and not the head gardener or the creator. God sacrificed his only son for the sins of the world. So we can live free and continue to garden creation.
The head gardener Jesus cannot garden alone. A fruitful garden takes love and labour to shape ,grow and form. Letting humanity to feel it’s joys and harvest its flowers and fruits that grow it to maturity.
We need to allow others to make paths , plant their own plants in their own style and way. But always under the guidance of the head gardener and creator.
Constant chatter( prayer) between the gardeners and the head gardener are essential for fruitfulness.
Those that know the joy of gardening open their hearts and there gardens for people to wander in encouraging them to stop and rest ; for them to nurture and form a closer relationship with Jesus. Gardeners form communities to share what they have with each other and than with the wider communities.

I see the church as the garden shed. The place where all the tools and the gardening books are kept and given out.
The priests are the gardeners too, as are we all. They garden from a calling to help others see the joy of the garden. They work not only for their own gardens but sow fruit and scatter seeds in the gardens of others.
Gardening along side and with them. weeding, planting fresh seed, loving , nurturing creation . The priests are gardeners that not only pull up weeds and sow seeds but also a have understanding of why and how to garden. They get it wrong too but their gift to the garden is to grow Gods word.
From the garden sheds they mow out paths, if possible build more sheds and gardens under the guidance of the head gardener.
They reach out to communities that are broken and have no gardening skills, they mend broken branches. Bash down weeds and brambles often getting scratched and stung on the way.
Deep inside they want others to smile as they walk past a flower and feel that deep joy of living alongside the head gardener.

The weed that the priest gardener pulls up is the same weed that any person pull ups. It has the same effect , if it’s done for the same purpose.
Equally the rose the planted by the priest gardener has just as much chance of flowering as the rose any of us can plant, as long as it’s planted with love nurtured and cared for.
We are all equal when it comes to tending the garden.

Humanity has become the problem we surround ourselves with gardens that have become overgrown with weeds. The sheds for some are distance memories at the bottom of their gardens overgrown with brambles.
The gardeners in the sheds work at clearing the brambles , they work quietly and patiently cutting one branch at a time, clearing paths. Making the sheds and the communities inside them available to as many as possible.
It’s not the sheds that we build or the people that garden inside them that give joy , it’s the flowers and fruits they plant and sow that bring us and God joy .

We cannot do this without love.

God blesses the whole garden each part makes a whole, each part has different job within the garden.
Every time someone new wonders into the garden it’s up the the gardeners to great them. It’s up to visitor which path they take and even if they don’t stop or even lift their eyes up from the floor it does not matter.
Next time they visit the garden they might just sit on the bench or even open the door to the community inside the shed.
It’s the encounter with the love of Christ through the gardeners in their sheds, it’s that love that we find forgiveness and a new purpose.
The church’s calling is to bless the world in Christ, remind and tell people why we garden . For the love and joy of creation and the creator God.
Gardeners from their sheds provide conditions for growth, placing people and sheds in the right places – God does the rest. We pray and trust in God to guide us .

My personal reflection on Gods widening Circle by Graham Tomlin.
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Hebrews 10:9Good News Translation (GNT)
9 Then he said, “Here I am, O God, to do your will.” So God does away with all the old sacrifices and puts the sacrifice of Christ in their place.