Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review of A Garden of Love

In A Garden of Love, Thomas B. Clarke shares his personal observations about the flowers he grows in his work for the Gethsemane Prayer Garden at Faith Chapel in Syracuse, New York. The purpose of the garden is not that it just be a pretty place to enjoy "lots of beautiful flowers. Rather, the flowers are intended to help soften our hearts so that we may be more effective in speaking to and hearing the voice of the Lord." (unnumbered page preceding the Acknowledgments page).

I liked that there were full color pictures on each two page spread. I enjoyed reading about flowers, many of which I have never seen growing in Southern Alabama gardens, and none of which I grow. I enjoyed the author's encouragements for the Christian faith, relating each to scripture.

I had a hard time relating the particular plant chosen to the characteristic he wanted to emphasize. For instance, he chose Coneflower (Echinacea) to relate to patient endurance. He said that he chose it because it looks like a crown. I don't see any crowns in that flower even after reading the entry. I also don't really follow the idea of crowns for patient endurance. It seems that it would have been more appropriate to use a flower that endured over a long season or was perennial. I don't know. It just seemed a reach to relate this flower to this spiritual characteristic.

He did not use herbs and flowers that have traditionally been associated with different characteristics. For instance, sage has long been associated with wisdom. Every flower he chose was chosen because he personally likes the plant. This is fine. It just seemed that some of the choices were made not because of the plant, but because he likes the spiritual characteristic and wanted to discuss it.

I would rate this book as readable. This one problem should be noted, because it really took from the power of the book.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.

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