Let me start by saying that I’m not a religious scholar. Still, it doesn’t take a scholar to understand that many of the major world religions have a set of basic commandments. Most of them come down to the idea that we should all strive to be decent humans and be kind to our neighbors. All in all, that seems like pretty good advice. One commandment that seems to be absent, from what I can tell, is “Love thy garden.”
Don’t get me wrong. I know gardens are a central theme in many religious texts, and I know “Love thy garden” is, in its own way, a part of many people’s lives. And it’s clear that many indigenous cultures take the idea as a given. Still, the author of today’s story believes we would all do well to take the idea as a commandment (even if it is unwritten) and remind ourselves of the wonder that is a garden.
“If you are inclined to look for the meaning of life, get thee to a garden,” writes George Ball in A Ballet in the Biosphere. The idea that the garden is a place where we can commune, breathe, observe, and be joyful is one that I think most gardeners can relate to. After all, we can’t deny the breathtaking acrobatics of a hummingbird or the brilliance of Morning Glories opening up to the sunlight with each new day.
Love Thy Garden and Enjoy These Stories That Remind Us of the Beauty In Nature
This story comes from our archive spanning over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that imbue the joy of gardening into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy!
A Ballet in the Biosphere
By George Ball
Spring is here. If you are inclined to look for the meaning of life, get thee to a garden. There are profound reasons why the garden is central in the sacred texts of major religions. Since ancient times, it has been the place where the soul goes to exercise, while simultaneously engaged in a multilayered dance with earth, plants, sun, birds, bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, night and day, temperature, the faithful earthworm, water, minerals, fragrance, a cast of thousands of microorganisms, our stalwart friends the fungi, chlorophyll, nectar. I think of it as a ballet in the biosphere.
By George Ball, Chairman of Burpee Seeds. From the Wall Street Journal, published originally in 2017, in GreenPrints Issue #109. Illustrated by Catherine Straus
What do you think? Is Love Thy Garden worthy of being a commandment?