Since time immemorial, gardens have been a trait of open space and have been fashioned into amongst other things, grounds for relaxation, solace and meditation.
These pockets of paradise are refreshing for limitless reasons. Whatever your individual motivation may be for visiting or keeping a garden, we all agree that it is uplifting to just have a physical space where we can experience and soak in creation with the company of others or on our own.
The mention of church often conjures imagery of togetherness and a sense of community; a place of spiritual restoration where congregation worship and foster a secure environment of encouragement and concern for their neighbours.
However, many churches in Ghana are not readily known for having space dedicated to nurturing the mind, body and soul through the outdoors and connecting with nature.
‘To cultivate a garden is to walk with God’. This sentiment expressed by 19th Century New York-born writer, Christian Nestell Bovee, has been adopted by some churches the world over.
Many have identified with the concept of tending garden within church grounds; which are freely accessible not only to the congregation but members of the community and general public.
The innumerable flora including exotic fruits, vegetables and trees with their medley of hues, scents and medicinal properties, have the ability to permeate every aspect of our being, while facilitating emotional, mental and physical healing plus spiritual rejuvenation.
In the Bible, gardens have been intricately woven into the fabric messages, and lives of individuals represented the Gardens of Eden and Gethsemane, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, King Solomon’s flower, herb and spice gardens and King Ahab’s infamous vineyard to name a few, all embody elements of fertility and beauty.
Mention is made of an array of plants, spices and vegetation – aloe, flax, barley, apples, cucumber, cinnamon, beans, figs, saffron and palm… the list is endless.
The benefits of taking time and making an effort to cultivate the habit of gardening in our churches and communities goes beyond growing flowers, fruits and vegetables for aesthetic purposes and nurture – it affords an opportunity to bind people from all walks of life and backgrounds together for a greater cause.
The acts of digging, weeding, planting, fertilizing and watering, it has been said, provide a chance for reflection on the changes and opportunities for cultivation in one’s own life.
The third annual Ghana Garden and Flower Show, the flagship event of the Ghana Garden and Flower Movement, would this year boast a bevy of activities aimed at bringing together garden experts and novices.
The five-day extravaganza that would be held at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park, Accra, from the September 10th to 14th, 2015, would involve workshops for adults and children. Additionally, a competition would be organised to award communities, which have created and maintained clean and beautiful spaces or gardens.
In fact, there is the need for communities, and churches to create unique gardens and places of worship, and transform them into harmonious and serene sanctuaries where the mind, body and soul are fed beyond the pews.
By Ernestina Boadi