Gift #899: Gardens of the Heart

I was looking through my pictures and found some of the Krohn’s Conservatory in Cincinnati that I hadn’t shared yet.  It’s a beautiful and peaceful spot and one of the places that I find my mind wandering back to.

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I find the history of conservatories/greenhouses fascinating.  An offshoot of the great exploration phase, they gained in popularity as collecting plants became a status symbol.  Fragile plants from the wild tropical lands needed to be sheltered and carefully looked after in the temperate climes of Europe and the insulating houses of glass were an obvious answer.

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In addition to housing rare and delicate tropicals, conservatories served a practical role as well by allowing plants to be grown year round.  The conservatory was a winter  garden, where fruits, vegetables, culinary herbs, and medicinal plants could be cultivated and put to good use during the long cold months when no outdoor crops could thrive.

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Thus these glassed gardens fed both body and spirit.  Food and beauty were both needed and conservatories expertly provided both.  In bleak months, these places were refuges for all the senses  – an escape into a tropical paradise.

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Like outdoor gardens, these indoor ecosystems had to be carefully tended.  The plants needed pruning, watering, and constant vigilance against pests and disease.   Temperature and humidity had to be precisely monitored.  Maintaining a conservatory was a perfect blend of science and art.

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As I browsed through the pictures I thought about how closely our hearts resemble gardens.  The analogy is not a new one – as in a garden, we choose what grows in our hearts.  We nurture certain emotions until they become behaviors.  To keep a healthy heart we must always be vigilant, standing guard against corruption of all sorts.  Just as it takes energy to create a lovely garden, so it is with the heart.  A beautiful, peaceful, and loving heart doesn’t happen by accident.  It takes time, effort, intention, and lots and lots of grace.

But as any gardener will tell you, it is worth every bit of it.  So, I’ll leave you with the question I’m meditating on tonight – “What is growing in the garden of your heart?”

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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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2 Responses to Gift #899: Gardens of the Heart

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    Beautiful analogy, Sarah. I try to keep the weeds out as best I can!
    I love conservatories, esp. in winter. We have three in the area and their tropical houses are like a mini-vacation on a cold day in January!

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