Our Community Garden Network had to opportunity to learn from Christine Sine and Andy Wade of Mustard Seed Associates, gleaning from their experiences of cultivating welcoming outdoor spaces. Christine guided us to think about how a Garden would offer hospitality to God and neighbour.
Many shared from their own experiences of how their garden would welcome God’s presence: a space for pollinators and smaller creatures of God’s Creation, a peaceful space to contemplate or work in silence, to a garden that shares God’s abundance with His people. And without a doubt, a garden that welcomes people, welcomes God too. A beautiful garden is a place where our senses are awakened, and gives us the opportunity to see the interconnectedness of God’s Creation.
Seeing Andy’s video “Gardening with God in Mind”, and in our discussion, one practical advice was not to underestimate use of curves. Rounded garden beds with curved paths leading to simple seating areas and a tea garden to collect herbs were some examples. A place with a “little free library” has proven to draw people in. Andy challenged us to think about how we could change our cultural norm of protected private spaces into welcoming front yards that make neighbors to feel at ease, conducive to conversation, with hopes of developing deeper relationships within a community.