The Garden

Tending the Garden of the Heart

Both my grandfather, and my mother, were avid gardeners, so I grew up surrounded by the beauty of plants and flowers. The cottage garden is a distinct style of garden that is certainly my favorite. The use of traditional materials, in an informal design, together with dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants, is identified the world over as English in origin. The grandeur and formal structure, found in classical English estate gardens, has surrendered to homey and functional gardens that are filled with  grace and charm.

The massive plantings of perennials, annuals, vegetables, and plants and flowers of every size and color, display like nothing else, the variety of beauty that bespeaks God’s creation. These gardens remind me of people, coming, as we do, in every size and color, all beautiful in our own special way. Some are like climbing roses, reaching to the heavens, and God’s glory. Others are like creepers, hugging the ground, and covering large areas like a carpet of green. Some are like cacti, needing little water, while able to live in the ascetic splendor of an Egyptian desert. Others, like water lilies, display beautiful blooms, even while floating in squalid water.

Like plants, we need watering and tending. For Christians, the Waters of Life can be found in baptism, where we are immersed in the Living Waters that bring us into life, standing us before the Creator, Who, like the gardener, tends to our needs, that we may grow and bloom to all our potential.

As we tend to our own heart, we must make sure we have guarded ourselves against the weeds that would strangle us, and smother our full potential as children of God. We must make sure we avail ourselves to the life sustaining food and water that comes from God as His Uncreated Grace. And, as the Body of Christ, the Church, (“neither male nor female, Greek nor Jew”) we will flower together, making up a garden of beautiful souls, basking in the Light of the Son of Righteousness.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

About the author

Fr. Tryphon is the Abbot of the Monastery of the All-Merciful Saviour, which was established in 1986 by Archimandrite Dimitry (Egoroff) of blessed memory. The Monastery is under the omophore of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

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