Saturday, January 4, 2014

In Review: 2013 in the Gethsemane Prayer Garden

With nearly a foot of snow on the ground, I realize that gardening may be one of the last things on your mind. I developed a year-end summary for 2011 and 2012, so why stop now?

We did several things that were not on our list for 2013, and we made some progress on the two things that were on our list:

What We Did
2013 began with our neighbors, the Delaneys, clearing a large amount of plant debris on the south side of the garden. Some of the dead tree trunks were 42-inches in diameter and 5-feet long. The pile of debris was 140-feet long and 20-feet wide, so having its removal was a tremendous God-send. See my blog article entitled Delaney Farms: Thank You for Your Effort for more information on that.

The eleven-foot tall wooden cross was placed in the ground in November 2012. This spring the landscaping around that wooden cross was completed. In remembrance of the "cloud by day" in the book of Exodus, I went to a wholesale nursery to purchase five purple smokebush; instead I came back with four and an assortment of evergreens. The following morning before planting them, I opened my Bible to re-read Exodus 33,34 where Moses watched the Lord pass by him. Instantly I had the revelation on how to plant them. If I get the opportunity this spring, I want to develop a YouTube video that explains that story as told through a combination of plants.
The Exodus 33 and 34 plantings are in the foreground;
the lawn area behind those plantings is where the Delaney debris was removed

The third major addition of 2013 was the completion of the 'Pool of Siloam.' In May I was sitting on a bench overlooking the stream, asking the Lord what to do with a difficult area between the shaded flower bed and stream. It was prone to flooding, the continual weeding was very time consuming, and frankly it looked ugly. Instantly I had a vision and a word at the same time: I saw a 25-foot pond with the words, "You don't have to weed a pond." Thank you Lord!

The pond was dug in August and completed in October. The pond spans property owned by the church and the Delaneys; it was a joint effort of both to prepare it.
9/14/2013 photo of the pool's reflective qualities

While not directly related to the prayer garden, a large buckthorn and wild grapevine patch was removed this fall. As you drove towards the church and prayer garden from the road, this thicket would have been on your left and intermingled with the neighbor's tall spruce trees. Like the eyesore that the Delaney's removed in the spring, we made a similar effort on our joint property with the Delaneys. Some final cleanup work should be completed in the spring.

Each year I like to get a young man who can work with me on the garden. Over the years, there has been Donald, Lukas, Jesse, Scott, Jonathan and Dorian. I try to mentor them as well as teach them basic landscaping principles. This year Kasson and Bill were among the 29 volunteers that helped the most, but it was a college student named Aaron Reau that really assisted the most in the garden; Aaron was a tremendous help and he has a great eye for aesthetics. Thanks to all of you! Collectively this year you logged 660 hours. You are great!

Thoughts for 2014
Last year I wrote about a large wooden gazebo, similar to a 12'x20' gazebo that I saw at the Treadway Inn in Owego NY:

In the fall I was introduced to Jim Marsh, a graduate student in the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. He used Google Sketchup to design a prototype of that structure. Someday I hope to get a copy of that design which I will post on this blog. It is truly awesome! Jim and I are thinking that the construction cost may be around $10,000.

I also wrote last year about the continuing need for water and electricity in the garden. Work was scheduled to start last fall but weather and other complications have delayed the start of that effort. Electricity is needed so that work on the gazebo can begin.

We hope to start moving to a better style of benches in 2014. The problem with the current benches is they are require a considerable amount of sanding, staining and other repair work on a regular basis. Our hope is to obtain log benches for the vicinity of the large wooden cross, and long-lasting resin benches for the other locations.

Blessings to you all for 2014. Prayer, that is regular two-way communication with our Lord, should be an essential part of each believer's walk; that is why this garden is available to the public.

In His service,