In the words of Norman Wirzba, “gardening is not reducible to a recreational activity, an optional affair, or a leisurely pastime. Nor are gardens primarily scenic and aromatic places of retreat. Gardening work creates in us an indispensable ‘imaginary’ that enables us to think, feel, and act in the world with greater awareness for life’s complexity and depth. Gardens are the concentrated and focused places where people discover and learn about life’s creativity and interdependence. Insofar as we are good gardeners we will commit to working with God’s creativity in ways that strengthen human and nonhuman life together. When we garden poorly or recklessly, we will inevitable lay waste the world.” (Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2019.)
I am not much of a gardener — I can barely keep more than three houseplants alive at one time! But I do love botanical gardens. They are aromatic places of retreat for me, giving me new perspectives on life. When I travel to new places, I always like to visit the local botanical gardens. The gardens in my town re-opened this week. I believe that apart from the grocery store and mailbox, my first ventures out post-quarantine will be to the gardens. I would like to share some of my favorite botanical gardens in my home town and from my travels over the years.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Florida
Historic Spanish Point, Osprey, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida
Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Massachusetts
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona
Butchart Gardens, Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada
Ghent University Botanical Garden, Ghent, Belgium
Botanic Gardens, Belfast, Ireland
Jose Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden, Bogota, Colombia
Q. Which of these botanical gardens have you visited?
Q. Where are your favorite gardens?