Our Love of the Garden
DO YOU welcome the tranquillity of a beautiful garden as a refuge from the noise and hectic pace of life? Are quiet parks with their lawns, flowers, shady trees, and ponds the surroundings you prefer for a picnic with your family or for a stroll with a friend? Yes, how soothing, refreshing, peaceful, and even therapeutic the garden is!
Although some may shy away from tending a garden, perhaps for want of time, all of us delight in the garden’s colors, aromas, sounds, and fruits. Thomas Jefferson—architect, scientist, lawyer, inventor, and U.S. president—loved the garden. He wrote: “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth. . . . I am still devoted to the garden. But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”
His view is shared by many. Each year millions of visitors stream to famous gardens of the world—Kew Gardens (the Royal Botanic Gardens), in England; the gardens in Kyoto, Japan; the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, in France; Longwood Gardens, in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., to mention a few. Many countries also have city areas where homes, nestled along tree-lined avenues, are surrounded by shrubs, trees, and a blaze of floral color—like a miniature paradise.
Gardens Can Promote Health
It has been observed that when humans keep in touch with the natural world, their health may be better, although the contact is no more than seeing flowers, trees, shrubs, and birds through a window. This led a New York City hospital to plant a garden on its roof. It was “received fantastically,” said a hospital official. “It’s been a morale booster for both patients and staff. . . . We see it having lots of therapeutic possibilities.” Indeed, studies show that people can benefit physically, mentally, and emotionally by feasting their senses on nature.
Moreover, a person who is spiritually inclined may feel closer to God when amid His handiwork. This aspect of the garden can be traced back to the very first garden on earth, the Garden of Eden, where God first communicated with man.—Genesis 2:15-17; 3:8.
The love of the garden is universal. And this, as we shall see, is significant. Before discussing that feature, though, we invite you to “walk” through a few of the gardens of history to see how deep in the hearts of all peoples the yearning for Paradise really is.