Our gardens grow us, and this collection of readings takes us down a path of pleasure. The overriding intention of Garden Blessings is to provide a heartwarming, spiritually focused collection of uplifting prayers, prose, and poems that share a common joy and appreciation for the love of gardening and the many blessings that gardens bring to our lives. June Cotner, a best-selling inspirational author, has gathered a bounty of garden blessings here, offering gems of wisdom that remind the reader and gardener in all of us just how much we learn from our gardens.
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About the Author
Graces, Bedside Prayers, and Dog Blessings. Her books altogether have sold over one million copies.
June's latest love and avocation is giving presentations on "Adopting Prisoner-Trained Shelter Dogs." In 2011 she adopted Indy, a chocolate Labrador/Doberman mix, from the Freedom Tails program at Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, WA. June works with Indy daily to build on the wonderful obedience skills he mastered in the program. She and Indy have appeared on the television shows AM Northwest and New Day Northwest.
A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, June is the mother of two grown children and lives in Poulsbo, WA, with her husband. Her hobbies include yoga, hiking, and playing with her two grandchildren. For more information, please visit June's website at junecotner.com.
Read an Excerpt
Gardens speak of Paradise,
of being yourself
Look around you,
Blow away those cranky thoughts
If you are willing to listen,
And remain quiet only
Awed by the greatness
of the music of your soul.
THE GARDEN IS RICH WITH DIVERSITY
The garden is rich with diversity
With plants of a hundred families
In the space between the trees
With all the colours and fragrances.
Basil, mint and lavender,
God keep my remembrance pure,
Raspberry, apple, rose,
God fill my heart with love,
Dill, anise, tansy,
Holy winds blow in me.
May my prayer be beautiful
May my remembrance O God
be as incense to thee
In the sacred grove of eternity
As I smell and remember
The ancient forests of earth.
AFFAIR IN A GARDEN
Beneath the overgrown grass swells the rich brown body
of the Earth. I want to throw myself down on it,
embrace it. I want to hug the trees, their high
summer lushness a green temptation.
Wildflowers appear, planted years ago,
flirtatiously blooming now as if they had
all the time in the world to grow
so beautiful and, of course, they do.
This is why as I bask in August sun
in the garden with perfumed breeze
stroking my bare legs and arms and face,
I am totally in love, wanting only to be
one with this pulsing planet.
Arlene Gay Levine
Gardens are more than
hooded flowers, tempting fruits
and living trees.
They are the birds
that sing and fly in them,
the wing-eyed butterflies,
the golden bees.
They include the sky
with sun and moon and stars,
the rain and snow;
they are the earth
with captured light from heaven
where plants and people grow.
A garden is a universe
that whispers soft and vernal,
“As it is above, so it is below.”
Waking, blooming, sleeping,
waking up again,
gardens are eternal:
they teach us all we need to know.
Kneeling as if in prayer, the gardener commits an act of worship, her hands running through the clumps of earth. Like so many rosary or mala beads, the dirt slips through her fingers as she chants her garden mantra: “May I help to plant the seeds of delight, nourish and water this patch of land with love, weed out discontent and witness its miraculous growth, knowing that I am the co-creator of beauty.”
Rev. Edie Weinstein-Moser
BLESS THE GARDENER WHO
believes great things grow
from small beginnings
appreciates sunshine and rain
and the rhythm of the seasons
plows through troubles
willing to get hands and knees dirty
but keeps an eye on the sky
plants extra for birds to eat their fill
and never leaves us hungry
Mary Kolada Scott
A GARDENER’S PRAYER
When I rise
let me plant
the sweet silence
of my garden as a seed
inside me, blooming
hour by hour, chasing away
the weeds of the day
until I retire
and the sweet silence
sings my soul to sleep
Arlene G. Levine
For any number of ills
that assail the human heart,
loneliness, worry, gall,
boredom, anguish, greed
touch dirt every day.
For whatever ails,
touch dirt every day.
Grab it in great handfuls.
Knead moistened clumps of clay.
Sift sand like streaming velvet.
Be cooled; be calmed.
Feel comfort in its smudge.
For whatever ails
and is grievous to your heart,
touch dirt every day.
The sun, thinned
to a white radiance,
warms the bones,
pulses the thermometer up over sixty.
Crocuses push their tips
through the newly softened earth.
Too soon, we say,
and want to make them
retrieve their leaves,
refurl them back.
Shrink, before the snow returns,
or you won’t live to dazzle us with your watered silks of purple, white, gold.
We haven’t had a proper winter yet,
the ground still brown,
no real accumulations.
But in this fickle weather,
we warm, too,
turn our faces upward
to the light,
shed our coats, gloves, scarves.
Sheets of ice begin to fall away.
And suddenly, our skin is alive again.
Shyly, small flowers open in our hearts.
I pledge allegiance to the flag,
graceful sword-leaved iris,
boldly veined with down curved sepals.
I pledge allegiance to wild hyacinth
with keeled leaves, six pointed stars.
I pledge pickerel weed
whose blue spires edge pond and stream.
I pledge blue and purple,
the united states of spring.
And to the republic of painted trillium
whose crimson blazes
at the base of white petals.
One meadow, one woodland
under God, indivisible
with violet and larkspur for all!
Shirley S. Stevens
PLANTING AND HARVESTING
TURNING THE GARDEN OVER,
the hoe churns up black surf.
Starlings whirl and wheel overhead,
seagulls in reverse.
Hear the ocean singing,
turn it under, make shore.
The wind billows at my back
as I move like a plover
pecking the dirt.
The shovel gives: slick, slice.
Pick out a chunk of granite,
hold it to your ear,
you can almost smell the sea.
An early summer day,
fragrant as a ripe peach,
and we go out to look at the perennial gardens:
the scented phlox, the variegated bachelor’s buttons:
cerise, wind, cream, solids and stripes.
And the carnations, their silver-blue foliage,
hot pink flowers, sweet perfume.
And the coral bells that pick up the pink,
play it one note deeper, ring in the wind.
They pass to the iris: Wine & Roses, lilac & lace ruffles,
a dash of orange in their beards
that’s echoed in the Oriental poppies,
paper thin, dancing in the hot reel of the air.
And that loud note of orange
is what makes us last through ice storms,
two foot drifts, nights of twenty below,
turn to longer days, survive.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Feel a tomato, heft its weight in your palm,
think of buttocks, breasts, this plump pulp.
And carrots, fresh dirt clinging to the root,
gold mined from the earth’s tight purse.
And asparagus, that push their heads
through earth, rise to meet the returning sun,
and zucchini, green torpedoes
lurking in the Sargasso depths
of their raspy stalks and scratchy leaves.
And peppers, thick walls of cool jade,
a green hush. Secret caves. Sanctuary.
And beets, the dark blood of the earth.
And all the lettuces: bibb, flame, oak leaf,
buttercrunch, black seeded Simpson, chicory, cos.
Elizabethan ruffs, crisp verbiage.
And spinach, the dark green
of northern forests, savoied, ruffled,
hidden folds and clefts.
And basil, sweet basil, nuzzled
by fumbling bees drunk on the sun.
And cucumbers, crisp, cool white ice in the heart of August, month of fire.
And peas in their delicate slippers,
little green boats, a string of beads,
And sunflowers, nodding at night,
then rising to shout hallelujah! at noon.
All over the garden, the whisper of leaves
passing secrets, gossip, making assignations.
All of the vegetables bask in the sun,
languorous as lizards.
Quick, before the frost puts out
their green light, praise these vegetables,
praise what comes from the earth.
The red butterflies
pause like blossoms
on the grass;
a yellow sunset
turns them bronze.
I am counting
pairs of red wings.
The late light
slant and serene,
and I know
have lives of their own,
are surprising, can
Barbara Van Noord
Table of Contents
1. The Garden Mara Beamish 18
Garden Talk Zoraida Rivera 19
The Garden Is Rich with Diversity Chinook Psalter 20
The Kiss of the Sun for Pardon Dorothy Frances Gurney 21
Reflections on the Garden Alice Morse Earle 22
Barbara Damrosch 22
Lawrence Halprin 22 Wendy Johnson 22
Laura Martin 22
Henry Mitchell 23
Barbara Damrosch 23
Walt Whitman 23
Impermanence The Dalai Lama 24
The Garden Hour Christine Swanberg 25
Eden Sherri Waas Shunfenthal 26
Garden Proverbs Author unknown 28
Rudyard Kipling 28
Spanish proverb 28
Author unknown 28
The New Garden Sharon Hudnell 29
Dawn Approaches Linda Lee Ruzicka 30
Oasis Irene Sedeora 31
Year-Round Blessing Joanne Keaton 32
Gardens Thelma J. Palmer 33
A Garden Prayer Barbara Nuzzo 35
Rhapsodies Within Jeani M. Picklesimer 36
Grandma and Grandpa’s Backyard Sheryl L. Nelms 37
Affair in a Garden Arlene Gay Levine 39
2. The Gardener Proverb 40
Gardener’s Prayer Karel Capek 41
Gardening Mother Paula E. Kirman 43
Reflections About Gardeners Marjorie Harris 44
Vita Sackville-West 44
H. G. Dwight 44
Love Poem for the Gardener Jean Tupper 45
Why? Sandra E. McBride 47
Natural Lois Greene Stone 48
Interlude Christina Keenan 49
The Gardener Reverend Edie Weinstein 51
The Old Gardener Nancy A. Lynch 52
Grandmother Katharyn Howard Machan 53
Into a Bountiful Season Carol L. MacKay 55
A Poet Returns to the Garden B.G. Thurston 56
Glory to the Gardener Heather Berry 57
A Gardener Knows Another Gardener Pamela Burke 58
Bless the Gardener Who Mary Kolada Scott 59
A Gardener’s Prayer Arlene Gay Levine 60
3. Gardening Tina James 61
Reflections on Gardening Patricia R. Barrett 62
John Erskine 62
Jerry Baker 62
Edgar Allen Poe 62
Ruth Stout 62
Mirabel Osler 63
Elizabeth Murray 63
Lewis Gannett 63
Author unknown 63
C. Z. Guest 63
Our Personal Work of Art Julia Moir Messervy 64
Ground Maryanne Hannan 65
August Clearing Barbara Glynn 66
Gardening Credo Susan J. Erickson 68
What Remains Nancy Tupper Ling 69
Old Gardener’s Confession Dianne M. Del Giorno 70
Gardener’s Winter Lament Arlene L. Mandell 72
A Gardener’s Springtime Prayer William Cleary 73
Spring Raking Lisa Timpf 74
Garden Gift DeMar Regier 76
Your Flowers Are Pretty Sheryl L. Nelms 77
Spiritual Gardening Norman Wirzba 79
Garden Confessional Jill Johnson 81
4. The Seasons Percy Bysshe Shelley 82
To Everything There Is a Season Ecclesiastes 83
Psalm of Praise Joan Stephen 84
Trees Marion Schoeberlein 85
Suddenly, Barbara Crooker 86
Spring Pledge Shirley S. Stevens 87
Snowflakes of Spring Bonnie Compton Hanson 88
And What Is So Rare As a Day in June? James Russell Lowell 89
This Summer Day Barbara Crooker 90
Diminuendo Barbara Crooker 92
Summer Passing Thomas L. Reid 93
Leaves Falling Mike Blottenberger 95
To Marigolds in Autumn Thomas L. Reid 96
All Because Autumn Came Denise A. Dewald 97
Lady Autumn Emily King 99
Contractions Hazel Smith Hutchinson 100
It’s Early Winter Gary Young 101
Winter Blessing Paula E. Kirman 102
January Thaw Barbara Crooker 103
Late February, Barbara Crooker 105
5. Planting & Harvesting Douglas Jerrold 106
The Promise Joan Noëldechen 107
Liturgy Mary Ellen Hansburg 108
Turning the Garden Under, Barbara Crooker 109
The Gardener Mary Lenore Quigley 110
Harmony Marcus Aurelius 111
Child’s Garden Blessing Jill Johnson 112
Four O’Clocks Brenda Knight 113
Discovery Barb Mayer 114
Your Gift of Tomatoes Elisavietta Ritchie 116
Making Soup for Selah Michael S. Glaser 118
Harvest Time Susan Landon 120
Fall Bounty Mary Maude Daniels 121
6. Flowers Ralph Waldo Emerson 122
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud William Wordsworth 123
Early Daffodils Steven Ratiner 124
Flowering Trees Barbara Crooker 125
Never Lose an Opportunity Ralph Waldo Emerson 126
An Island Garden Celia Thaxter 127
Flowers Rochelle L. Holt 128
The Wilding C. David Hay 129
Morning Glories Stephanie Palladino 130
Morning Glories Norbert Krapf 131
A Poet’s Prayer Sandra E. McBride 133
Lilies Meg Campbell 134
I Know a Bank Whereon the Wild
Thyme Grows William Shakespeare 135
These Roses Under My Window Ralph Waldo Emerson 136
The Rose Fanny Levin 137
My Neighbor’s Roses A.L. Gruber 138
My Neighbor’s Reply Author unknown 139
Joint Garden Maureen Tolman Flannery 140
And They Say There Are No More Nita Penfold 141
Lovely Camellia Janine Canan 142
7. Fruits & Vegetables Frances Moore Lappé 144
Squash Blossom Cassie Premo Steele 145
Garden Laurence Snydal 146
Kindness Sally Clark 147
Choking Gayle Brandeis 148
Holy Tomatoes Ginny Lowe Connors 150
Tomato William Orem 151
Shelling Peas Penny Harter 153
Avocado Gayle Brandeis 155
Raspberries Barbara Crooker 157
Orchard Blessing Marjorie Rommel 159
Pear Tree at Sunset Lisa Zimmerman 161
8. All Creatures Anne Raver 162
Leap Frog Sheryl L. Nelms 163
Warts Helen Ruggieri 165
Bumble Bees in Bloom Jill Morgan Hawkins 166
Cycle: for the Deer Sharon Hudnell 167
Blessings Barbara Van Noord 168
The Butterfly Ballet Marion Schoeberlein 169
In the Garden with My Grandson Donna Wahlert 170
A Hummingbird Moment Gwyneth M. Bledsoe 171
The Visit Ann Reisford Boutté 172
My Garden’s Protected Robin Svedi 174
Katydid Maureen Tolman Flannery 175
Cricket’s Coda Rebecca K. Wyss 177
Buried Treasure Nancy A. Lynch 178
The Garden Warbler Ramnath Subramanian 179
A Gardener’s Lament Susanne Wiggins Bunch 181
Making the Rounds Gary E. McCormick 183
Birds at the Feeder Donna Wahlert 185
Honored Bees Janine Canan 186
9. Reflections Author unknown 187
Reflections Willa Cather 188
Hal Borland 188
Frances Moore Lappé 188
Thomas Jefferson 188
Author unknown 189
Emma Goldman 189
Author unknown 189
To Be of the Earth John Soos 190
The Garden Tereasa Bellew 191
Curator Reverend Jack Skiles 192
My Beloved Janine Canan 193
Weed Wrestling Susan R. Norton 194
Watching from the Window Martha K. Baker 196
Sweet Banquets Hilda Sanderson 197
The Shady Corner Norbert Krapf 198
In the Garden Peter Markus 200
Why Do Plants Have Such a Positive
Impact on Us? Author unknown 201
Working in the Garden Ellen Bass 202
Do Tell Martha K. Baker 204
At the End of a Season Marilyn Johnston 205
10. Inspiration Veronica Hunsucker 206
Short Inspirations John Jeavons 207
Jean-Jacques Rousseau 207
Russell Page 207
Joni Mitchell 207
Be a Gardener Julian of Norwich 208
Blessing for a Gardener Maryanne Hannan 209
Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun Walt Whitman 210
Pilgrim’s Progress Ida Fasel 211
When I Dance, I Dance Michel de Montaigne 212
Garden Meditation Reverend Max Alden Coots 213
A Little Prayer Theresa Mary Grass 215
The Simplest Miracle Mary Maude Daniels 216
Garden Credo Thelma J. Palmer 218
Garden Blessing Shirley Vogler Meister 219
Illumination Sarah J. Diehl 220
A Gardener’s Prayer Nancy Priff 221
Heirloom Seeds Cindy Chuksudoon 222
A Community Garden Blessing Carol L. MacKay 223
The Gardener’s Toast Thelma J. Palmer 224
Plowing a New Furrow Margaret Anne Huffman 226
Keeper of the Gates Father John B. Giuliani 227
Beautitudes for the Gardener Gail Kavanagh 228
Miracle Theresa Mary Grass 230
A Garden Prayer Marian Olson 231
God’s Evergreenness Martha K. Baker 232
Garden Prayer Sharon Hudnell 234
Bless the Gardener Kay Reall 235
Garden Light Michael S. Glaser 236
AUTHOR INDEX 237
PERMISSIONS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS <<4 pages still to come>> 240
ABOUT THE AUTHOR