Friday, September 2, 2011

The Blossoms of September in the Prayer Garden

I took the time last night to leisurely stroll through the Gethsemane Prayer Garden where I am the Caretaker. Normally I am busy working in the garden and much too oblivious to the nuances of God's creation around me – it was a refreshing time as well as a time for reflection. Possibly it is a little like the woman that prepares a meal for the company to enjoy but is never able to enjoy it herself.

I was struggling with the direction that I am pursuing regarding the development and maintenance of the garden, as well as my own writing career. Alone in this garden, I asked God some hard questions that all surrounded the thought, "Why?". His response came as an image, and the interpretation was clear and simple, "Allow me to lead in this dance." This was not the response that I expected, but I thank God that the Holy Spirit revealed this image to me.

Many people are not familiar with the gaura, but what a joy it is! Some are taller and white, such as those placed near the main entrance to the garden. Other varieties are deep pink; my favorites are those with a delicate mix of white and pink blossoms. All varieties start to flower in mid-June and will continue in profusion through the first heavy frost. Gaura

The gaura has been aptly given the English name "wand flower" because each flower cluster sits on top of a long wand-like stem. The stems are so long and so thin that God seems to have created these flowers so we can enjoy how they dance in the breeze. Even on windless days, days where the air is so incredibly still, the flower heads gently move in response to the heat rising from the ground – dancing in the breeze.

In the Bible, the Hebrew word ruwach can be translated as both Holy Spirit and wind. As this flower dances, the gaura reminds us of the wind, the ruwach, the presence of the Holy Spirit. We may feel spiritually parched as we enter the garden – the gaura is there as a reminder of the refreshing and renewing that God wants to give us.

By September, the precious roses which sometimes go through a dry spell in mid-summer have now come back as the soil gathers more moisture and the evenings get cooler. We have a number of lusciously attractive pink 'Bonica' roses which are complemented by two varieties of 'Knock Out' roses. The roses will continue to bloom through November.

Another of my fall favorites is the false ageratum which blossoms until the first frost. These short bright-blue flowers, with a hint of fuchsia coloring, add an interesting contrast to the red, orange and rust tones that are typically seen in the autumn.

The Russian sage continues blossoming in September although their color can fade to more of a soft blue-gray tone. The broccoli-shaped autumn joy sedum comes alive with fresh, pinkish flowers that eventually change tones many times to eventually become an autumn rust color. Chrysanthemum, blanket flower (also known as Gaillardia), Japanese anemone all blossom in September, as well as some flowers that typically are found in the early summer but God decides to show their beauty one more time before the colder weather sets in.

I hope you take time to visit and use this prayer garden. As a recent visitor wrote to Faith Chapel, "What a sweet place the gardens were. So peaceful, so beautiful, and I can walk the paths easily. Yes, I was thoroughly blessed and hope to make many more visits. It’s a wonderful place to come and be quiet with the Lord."

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.