Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dana's Garden of Generosity

"Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last summer, I was delighted when an anonymous florist brought fresh-cut bouquets to church -- gorgeous blooms offered with a simple handwritten sign that read "Free flowers from God." My inquiries led me to Dana, a nurse whose nurturing instincts extend to her brimful garden. I recently visited her suburban home for a look at this season's bounty.

I plan to share her story in an upcoming Christian Woman Creative Corner article but can't resist previewing a little of the inspiration here.

Dana grew up watching her mother arrange flowers and took to the art intuitively. She takes great joy in sharing her gifts with others -- whether lining the windowsills at church with colorful vases or distributing blossoms to her neighbors. 

Among her many blooms, zinnias are a favorite for their vivid color.

Dana enjoys taking cuttings to retirement homes. As she sits in the lobby arranging the stems, many patients grow nostalgic remembering heirloom varieties from their gardens past.

Considering the bounty Dana shares with others, one might assume her property includes vast acreage. But to my surprise, I discovered tangles of blooms densely planted across narrow stretches of lawn.

It was so encouraging to realize that such natural splendor is accessible to all.

Dana starts flowers from seed and chooses hardy floral varieties that require little maintenance. Tomato plants flourish beneath the foliage, adding another element of enjoyment to her efforts.

As I snapped these photos, Dana watered her flowers and reflected on the joy she has cultivated -- both for others and for herself.

This garden of generosity brings to mind Proverbs 11:25: "Whoever brings blessings will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered."

Thank you, Dana, for welcoming me to your outdoor oasis!

As we walked among the blooms, she put together a few arrangements -- lovely centerpieces she sent home with me to enjoy. Look for her tutorial and tips in an upcoming post.

"Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity." ~ John Ruskin

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