Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring in the Gethsemane Prayer Garden

Have you ever visited a prayer garden? In Syracuse, New York, a garden is open to the public based on the words from Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." We have named it Gethsemane Prayer Garden based on the location in Jerusalem where Jesus modeled his personal prayer.

Nearly an acre in size, this garden is maintained by the congregation of Faith Chapel as an outdoor sanctuary and a place to experience God and His love. There are 50 perennial flower varieties and several hundred shrubs and trees; benches are available for a quiet time with the Lord.

As caretaker of this garden, I extend my personal invitation to you to visit this garden. Syracuse is located at the crossroads of I-90 and I-81, so if you are traveling from the mid-west to New England, Syracuse is a good stopping place. And if you live in Pennsylvania or Maryland and are traveling towards Montreal, please pay us a visit.

A review of each month's flowers with photos is available at Here is the excerpt for May:

While April was predominantly a display of yellow-flowered beauties, May turns the hue to a wonderful display of blue tones. Some of the yellow daffodils can hang on for the earlier part of the month, but soon the lusciously sweet and delicate forget-me-not blooms begin filling the garden. The dark blue grape hyacinth display their colors for a few weeks, and a few straglers may be found in unexpected places around the garden.

By mid-May, the columbine begin opening – we have selected a dark blue variety that self-seeds beautifully. And then towards the end of the month, Jacob's ladder again repeats the blue theme as it appears near the center of the garden.

Also in May, the marsh marigolds continue their display for the first two weeks; they are a native plant in this part of the country, and we have relocated many from downstream locations where they were hidden from view. Georgeous pink, red and white bleeding hearts appear for too short of a time.

The leaves on the trees typically open in May, with their soft green colors that will turn more robust by mid-summer. The dappled willow is a special treat, unexpectedly demonstrating a soft pink or light orange color in late May and early June. And the weeping copper beech can be found hovering over the garden in all of its majesty – this tall, slender and weeping beauty symbolizes both our strength in Christ and the humility and grace clothed in this purple clad tree.

We hope to see you this year.

Tom Clarke, Caretaker of the Gethsemane Prayer Garden
and author of "A Garden of Love", a look at love as based on the flowers in this garden

End Note: The overall theme for this series of articles is flowers and plants, showing how they point to love. Sometimes I write 'how to' do something, other times the emphasis is a status update, or the article will be about how a plant or flower touched my heart. All of these writings are based on plants from the Gethsemane Prayer Garden in Syracuse, NY. Please consider some of the other blog articles: Index of Articles About the Gethsemane Prayer Garden.