Put the Bible in your garden. No, I'm not suggesting that you buy a dozen Bibles and set them next to your tomatoes and onions. Instead, put plants in your garden that will be like colorful signposts pointing you to a special Scripture verse. Trees, flowers, herbs, and vegetables appear abundantly throughout the Bible. I'm suggesting that you buy some of the more than 100 plants mentioned in the Bible and fill up your garden with these "pointers to joy."
The Creator himself served as our world's first gardener. After He created the earth and the waters, Scripture says that He got His hands dirty. "Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. . . . The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" (Genesis 2:8,15).
The Bible reveals a beautiful truth: We all belong in gardens! God calls us to create and nurture patches of earth no matter where we live. Devoted gardeners have discovered that it is therapeutic to kneel down and dig in the dirt. Kneeling is also the time-honored position for praying. Bible plants in our gardens jog us to think of Scripture passages associated with these plants. They turn our hearts upward toward the Source of all joy, calling us to pause while gardening, and send a prayer toward heaven.
When we decide to plant a garden with Bible plants, we have many choices. Some that may intrigue you are the grapevine; grains, such as wheat or barley; herbs, such as mint, mustard, or dill; trees, including the olive, fig, apple, palm, almond, pomegranate, myrtle, or willow; vegetables, such as onions, leeks, or cucumbers; and flowers, such as roses, lilies, crocuses, daffodils, or narcissi.
A delightful choice is the group of bulbs that includes the daffodil, narcissus, and crocus. These little beauties may already be in your garden. If not, planting them is simplicity itself. Just be sure to find a sunny spot and to follow the directions that come with the bulbs about planting depth. It is always good to put some bulb food in the hole before planting. Also, I recommend planting some of the bulbs in pots. This protects them from gophers and lets you move the pot to a central spot when the plant is in full bloom.
Gardeners in every climate rejoice when the crocus heralds the end of winter. In cold regions, sunny yellow and bright purple blossoms thrust upward through the snow, gladdening the gardener's heart. In warmer climates, too, the crocus provides spring's earliest blossoms. For the planter of a Bible garden, they are triply welcomed for their beauty, their early arrival, and the verse they bring to mind: "The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy" (Isaiah 35:1-2).
A second recommended Bible plant that will grow happily throughout much of the country is the true myrtle, or Myrtus communis. This small shrub has pretty, lightly scented white flowers, three-fourths of an inch across, and glossy green leaves that are strongly scented when crushed.
Myrtle is mentioned in several places in the Bible, including Isaiah 55:13: "Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."
Myrtle can be pruned and kept to a rounded 6-foot shape, or you can let it reach its full height of 15 feet. The myrtle's berries are delicious to songbirds, another point in its favor. Myrtus communis is hardy to 20 degrees F. and withstands wind and heat very well.
Whenever I think of my garden, I am reminded that Jesus commands us in John 15:12 to meet the world with love. In verse 16, He tells us that we are chosen by Him and appointed "to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last." I can think of no better way to remind ourselves and others of His love and our mission than by sharing the pleasure and bounty of the beautiful flowers and produce from a Biblical garden.