The Holy Land has always been mainly desert and arid land, with the only fertile plains around Galilee. Yet on reading the Bible from Genesis to the Gospels there are many references to plants, fruits, gardens and agriculture.
In the spring of 1997 the Sunday Club with help from gardeners in the congregation started the Rothwell Bible Garden. Each year on the long weekend in May, the children would go outside, hear a story and then have fun adding something to the garden such as plant or object that would be found in one of the Scripture references.
In certain instances where plants of the exact genus are either not available or would not survive, an available species or cultivars of the same genus are used. As well, some plants such as Forget Me Not, Jacob's Ladder and the Gentle Shepherd lily were added because of their reference to a Bible story.
The identification of plants of the Bible is a difficult task and one in which authorities occasionally disagree. In creating our gardens, our primary references were Plants of the Bible by Harold N. and Alma L. Moldenke; and the Warsaw Bible Garden website.
O God, the gardener, in straw hat and worn white gloves you set to work; digging, weeding, and watering.
How joyful you are in your work.
You do not force the growth.
You breathe upon the soil, and by an unseen grace the garden grows.
We kneel beside you, seeking our work in yours.
Bid us dig into our relationships, loving with healing love, Iiving with healing Intent.
Bid us weed our thoughts, pulling out those of little value.
Spacing and pruning the gems of wisdom, bid us water our hopes, pressing for a crop beyond our sight.
Forgive us our laziness and guilt, and grant us grace for growing.
O God the gardener, grow in us, that we might labour till the crops be ripe and whole. Amen