Chanticleer Gardens is one of the most wonderful spots to see and experience. It is only a few miles from home in the greater Philadelphia area. In fact, it is known as the only garden of its kind in the world.
After a very busy day of substitute teaching at St. David’s Nursery School, the garden seems to beckon me to stop, relax and enjoy some beautiful moments on my way home from work. It is a perfect place to walk, getting my steps recorded on my Fit Bit. I laugh when I think that man has invented a way to count all our steps, but God had already specifically designed, recorded and directed them (Proverbs 16). I wonder how many of my steps in this life have been taken in a garden. As a tiny girl I took some of my first steps in my Grandpa’s garden. I have pictures of me stopping to smell a rose in it. However, it wasn’t until years later that I found out my name was in the Bible, when I read the words, “rose of Sharon” in the book of Song of Solomon. Then, later I found that there are the plains of Sharon in Israel. I wondered if the roses there were anything like the ones here.
I’m sitting presently, in the sunshine on a smooth bench that was designed by the artists of Chanticleer. They have carved carrots, beets, asparagus and pumpkins onto the bench for others and me to rest on. Someone far more creative than I designed it and it sits beside a vegetable garden in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In that garden I see Nasturtiums, and squash vines and vines growing on the arch shaped garden gate. As I pass through it I am reminded that Jesus called himself “the Vine” in John 15. And we are “the branches” that are to grow and produce much fruit as He lives through us! I see a pumpkin vine growing in the corner and a multitude of cherry tomatoes growing on a vine on a trellis opposite the pumpkins. They have yet to ripen and remind me of the fruits of our lives that are there but have not ripened.
At the exit I come to a profuse flower garden where I am surrounded by floral scents. The path worn out in front of me in the grass has been worn to the shape of a cross as it intersects with another through the middle. (Jeremiah 6:16) Various shades of pink, purple, red, orange, yellow, and white and shades of green delight the eye. A large pink dahlia with petals spreading yellow from its center blossoms like the sunshine. And little purple flowers beneath grow like little buttons amongst their leaves. Tiny pale purple flowers like tear drops
accentuate the greenery. I stand in the middle of this garden so beautiful and thank my God for its color! They are more than the colors of the autumn leaves on the trees in the nearby woods. Gently blowing in the breeze above them is an exquisite fern like plant with white fronds, called eupatorium. Next to them grow little pale green balls all covered with prickly spines. They are a type of milk weed. Next to them are plants that remind me of blackberries poking up through the grasses. What are all their names? Some people know but the passersby just enjoy them.
I come to a path where leaves on the trees express beauty in colors of yellow, brown, orange and red. Beside the path grow many green fern turning a light yellow. Because it’s the end of the season as I enjoy Chanticleer, I pause to admire the greenhouse at the back of the garden. I step into a warm pleasant room. The glass building enables me to enjoy the beautiful out of doors nearby. It is given to me by the hard workers of Chanticleer and most of all by my kind, wise, magnificent Father in heaven!
I go on, and hidden on a stone path that goes under a bridge is a beautiful, secluded secret spot. I never noticed it anytime I’ve visited before. I’m sure it’s been unobserved by many others also. Along it runs the little brook that flows along the north side of Chanticleer. It is a truly silent spot, and I pause here to pray. Presently, it seems like Dave and I are looking for a bridge to get through our housing problems, looking for a place to live. Yet, if we stop and see the beauty all around us we can see our problems in a different perspective.
Stopping to sit in a solitary chair, I contemplate those joys for a few minutes. I live and breathe in the moment watching the sun continue to set; I seem to hear my Savior say, “Someday I’ll show you oh so much more that I’ve created for you to enjoy!” Yes, I thank God for this very special walk through a garden. I exit singing a favorite hymn, “I come to the garden alone”.
Love, joy, and peace,