This is a beautifully written and stunningly illustrated book. It is not a run of the mill ‘How to’ book, it is more a look at why we garden.

There are of course multiple reasons. Through the recounting of her own gardening story and with the use of many insightful and inspiring quotations, Donna Sinclair examines the many aspects of gardening with a spiritual perspective. Gardening can connect us to the Divine Presence and increase awareness of the interconnectedness of all living things and our oneness with all aspects of life.

Gardening also reminds us that the whole earth is a garden, “That what we learn in our own little plot, we bring to the larger landscape of creation” and that the earth does not belong to us but we belong to the earth.

And simply, in our clock-driven, computer-generated world gardening provides a balance to our lives. Recounting ancient lore from many cultures, Donna illustrates these lessons and much more.

I leave you with an ancient Chinese Proverb quoted in the book: “One who plants a garden, plants joy.” This book is a joy and I would highly recommend it to both gardeners and non gardeners alike.

Corliss Maguire

Corliss Maguire is a gardener and a warden at the Church of the Epiphany, Surrey.

The Author

Her father introduced Donna Sinclair to gardening and now, though he has passed on, when she gardens, “I am in touch with my father who prepared tulips for fall, with his great belief in the resurrection.”

Donna Sinclair lived as a child in Englehart, Ontario, 450 kilometres north of Toronto, on fertile ground but with a short growing season. “My father was compost king of the universe. He used to cover tomatoes in early fall and get them to produce long after they were supposed to.”

“My earliest memory of gardening was being given the extra irises. I was about ten.” Her father knew what flowers were suitable for a young girl. “You couldn’t have stopped them from growing if you tried,” she recalls with a smile.

A senior writer with the United Church Observer, Sinclair is the author of several books – on being a minister’s wife (which she is), Christian parenting, and two volumes of A Woman’s Book of Days.

Her book is part of series that begin The Spirituality of…, which have so far have dealt with wine, and with mazes and labyrinths. They are produced by Northstone Publishing, a Kelowna-based company.

Now living in North Bay, not quite so far north as Englehart, Sinclair remains an avid gardener.

It gives her a sense of kinship with others who work the land, be it a farmer in Kenya or one in Cental America. “We are changed by a great sense that we belong to the land.” First Nations spirituality has done much to inform her own, Sinclair says.

“I am trying to create a place where things are in balance, “ she says. Most of her gardening is of flowers. “I suppose I am trying to find an Eden. In the attempt to create beauty, there is a sense of return.”

Neale Adams