1128. One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds. ~Dan Bennett

Gardeners are artists,
 their brushes a tiny seed,
an ever changing picture emerges from their deed.
~Author Unknown

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Watching hands transplanting,
Turning and tamping,
Lifting the young plants with two fingers,
Sifting in a palm-full of fresh loam,–
One swift movement,–
Then plumping in the bunched roots,
A single twist of the thumbs, a tamping and turning,
All in one, quick on the wooden bench,
A shaking down, while the stem stays straight,
Once, twice, and a faint third thump,–
Into the flat-box it goes,
Ready for the long days under the sloped glass:
The sun warming the fine loam,
The young horns winding and unwinding,
Creaking their thin spines,
The underleaves, the smallest buds
Breaking into nakedness,
The blossoms extending
Out into the sweet air,
The whole flower extending outward,
Stretching and reaching.
~Theodore Roethke

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2  ✝

476. Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. ~Mrs. C.W. Earle

Take thy spade,
It is thy pencil;
Take thy seeds, thy plants,
They are your colours.
~William Mason

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The level of sand in summer’s hour glass may be low, but there is still a fair measure of glory remaining in the year. Since earth’s palette has not yet been wiped clean, the “greatest show on earth” is definitely not over  nor will it be until months from now when Jack Frost’s frigid sting puts an end to it. Even now some flowers are abloom, but the coming cooler days and weeks will bring even more blossoming beauties. In addition the squirrels still have nuts to gather, the birds have songs yet unsung, the butterflies and bees have more pollinating rounds to make, and the roses have their second big flush of blooms to proffer. Not to mention that in the not too distant future the year’s pumpkins will make their colorful appearance amid the stunning array of autumn leaves. So the show ain’t over, folks!

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I will wait until after the equinox on the 22nd of September to take up my spade and plant as well as sow seeds, but in the meantime I’ve already started my imaginings about additions and changes in the garden. And what a great place a garden is to let one’s imagination run wild! It can loosed over and over again in plotting the shapes of flower beds and paths, in deciding the kinds of plants to be introduced or removed, in installing new flower supports and garden structures, and so on. One of the best parts is that all this imagining feeds my starving, heat beleaguered inner child and my thirsting would-love-to-have-been an artist selfie.

. . . and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. ~Exodus 31:3-5 ✝

371. With rake and seeds and sower, and hoe and line and reel, when meadows shrill with “peeping” and the old world wakes from sleeping, who wouldn’t be a grower that has a heart to feel? ~Frederick Frye Rockwell

It was the busy hour
When from the city hardware store
Emerged a gentleman, who bore
One hoe, one spade, one wheelbarrow.

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From there our hero promptly went
Into a seed establishment,
And for these things his money spent:
One peck of bulbs, one job-lot-shrub,
and one quart of assorted seeds.

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He has a garden under way
And if he’s fairly lucky, say,
He’ll have, about the end of May
One one squash vine, one eggplant, one budding flower.
~Author Unknown

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Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:10 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

 ** Images via Pinterest.

302. So deeply is the gardener’s instinct implanted in my soul, I really love the tools with which I work – the iron fork, the spade, the hoe, the rake, the trowel, and the watering pot are pleasant objects in my eyes. ~Celia Thaxter

Toward seven o’clock every morning,
I leave my study and step out on the bright terrace;
Here my tools lie ready and waiting,
each one an intimate, an ally:
the round basket for weeds, there’s a rake here as well,
at times a mattock and spade,
or two watering cans…and a small hoe…
~Edited and adapted excerpt from a work by Herman Hesse

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I have raked the soil and planted the seeds
Now I’ve joined the army that fights the weeds.
For me no flashing saber and sword,
To battle the swiftly marching horde;
With a valiant heart I fight the foe,
My only weapon a trusty hoe.
No martial music to swing me along,
I march to the robin redbreast song.
No stirring anthem of bugle and drum
But the cricket’s chirp and the honey bee’s hum.
No anti-aircraft or siren yell
But there’s Trumpet-creeper and Lily-bell.
With a loving heart and a sturdy hand,
I defend the borders of flower-land;
While high over Larkspur and Leopardsbane,
A butterfly pilots his tiny plane;
But I shall not fear his skillful hand,
My enemy charges only by land.
~Alma B. Eymann

So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.  ~Matthew 13:26    ✝

**photos via Pinterest

224. There is a bird that God has blessed, she wears this honor on her chest… ~Rick Fernandez, Sr.

When father takes his spade to dig
then the Robin comes along;
And sits upon a little twig
And sings a little song.

Or, if the trees are rather far
He does not stay alone,
But comes up close to where we are
And bobs upon a stone.
~“The Robin” by Laurence Alma-Tadema

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Since the mid 19th century in the UK and in Ireland, the robin has been strongly associated with Christmas; its image has been used on Christmas cards and on postage stamps.  Legend has it, according to an old British folk tale, that when Jesus was dying on the cross, the Robin, then a simply brown bird, flew to his side and sang into his ear in order to comfort him in his pain. The blood from his wounds stained the Robin’s breast, and thereafter all Robins have borne the mark of Christ’s blood upon them.  More than likely however, the association with the robin and Christmas may have come from the fact that postmen in Victorian Britain wore red jackets and were nicknamed “Robins.”

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.  ~Hebrews 13:19-21  ✝

161. The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. ~Alfred Austin

So deeply is the gardener’s instinct implanted in my soul
that I really love the tools with which I work –
the iron fork, the spade, the hoe, the rake, the trowel,
and the watering pots are pleasant objects in my eyes.
~Celia Thaxter

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The sidewalks were long and narrow that ran between the stucco houses, and high was the exterior wall of the two-story duplex two doors down from us on the seaward end of the block.  At the base of that duplex’s stucco wall was a shallow flower bed filled with pansies and strawberries, and about halfway down the wall was a door that separated the flower bed into two sections.  Behind the door was a storage area, a closet of sorts, and because the closet was under the front stairwell of the two story structure, it was one of those odd-shaped little niches with a downward sloping ceiling on one end.  In the closet’s mysterious, deeper recesses were all kinds of fascinating tools.  When the door to the closet was ajar, it meant Uncle was inside sitting on his stool, working on a yard or household project Auntie had commissioned.  The “doghouse” as he called it, was a rich and irresistible den of curiosities for a child, and in it with Uncle as tutor-in-residence I not only learned a great deal but also fell in love with a myriad of things.  The closet with its earthy smells and assorted contraptions was a magical place, and the gardening tools were as provocative a sight for young eyes as the images of the storybook gardens they conjured up.  Decades later when a friend commented that I live close to nature, I thought of that closet again and realized the lasting impression that it and Uncle had had on my life.  Then and there in a place that smelled of soil and sea I came to love and respect the earth for its charming and sometimes “shy presences”–the visible ones, the audible ones, the tangible ones, even the ones that dwell in dim obscurity.  Uncle’s closet and his tales gave birth to “stirrings” in me that ultimately led me to believe that all Creation is a holy gift to be cherished and that its Maker is to be adored and praised.

The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise Him and I will exalt Him.  ~Exodus 15:2   ✝

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This is the duplex I’ve written about above, and in front of it are Auntie and Uncle as well as me and my two sisters, circa 1952.  We were dressed up for Easter Sunday in clothes made, starched, and ironed by our mother’s loving hands.  Since our grandparents lived in Texas and Illinois,  Aunt Stella and Uncle Walter were for all intents and purposes our “surrogate” grandparents.  (Uncle was actually the brother of my maternal grandfather.)

132. For summer here, bear in mind, is a loitering gossip, that only begins to talk of leaving when September rises to go. ~George W. Cable

Take thy spade,
It is thy pencil;
Take thy seeds, thy plants,
They are your colours.
~William Mason, English poet, editor, and cleric

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The level of sand in summer’s hour glass may be low, but, and in spite of August’s  lingering heat, there is yet to come a fair measure of glory in the garden.  The cycle of earth’s fruiting isn’t completely over here in north central Texas until Jack Frost’s frigid touch rings the death knell in mid-November or early December.  So the remaining modicum of flowers will be joined in the coming days and weeks with substantially more blossoms.  Moreover, squirrels aren’t finished gathering nuts, birds have songs yet unsung, pollinators have more rounds to make, and roses have a second flush of blooms to proffer.  But most of all autumn is the time for we who “dwell in gardens” to plant, sow seeds, and raise our voices in gratitude for what the Lord has already graciously given us.

You who dwell in the gardens with friends in attendance, let me hear your voice.  ~Song of Songs 8:13  ✝