The Hidden Art of Homemaking – Chapter 6

Gardens and Gardening

Lily 1

Lily from our flower garden. Photo credit: my daughter Caitlin

spring beauty

Spring Beauty photographed by my husband while on nature walk with the children

zinnias 3

Zinnias make a beautiful border for our vegetable garden each summer

In this chapter, Edith Schaeffer takes a practical and creative look at gardening — flowers, vegetables and more –and how you can incorporate it, should incorporate it into your life, your home, wherever you are.

Consider the fact that God the Creator chose a garden as the very first home for the very first man, the very first family. With that thought, consider how much even a tiny touch of a garden adds to our quality of life.

Mrs. Schaeffer shares from her early years as a new bride, how they lived in a back apartment of an old rowhouse, with a horrific view. Instead of fretting and complaining, she and her husband took an old bin, filled it with soil and planted morning glories, which grew and spread its tendrils along the back fence, producing new and beautiful blue blossoms each morning. They added more flowers at the base for color and variety. This became their focal point as they shared breakfast each morning. A wonderful way to start the day, even in the midst of a crowded, dirty city.

This week I was challenged by the reading of this chapter to consider how I care for and present God’s gift of nature, right here in my own yard. We are blessed with wide open spaces where we live. We have room to grow vegetables and fruits and flowers. We have an amazing array of wildflowers sprinkling the countryside. Every spring the whole family gets involved cleaning up the vegetable garden and flower beds, readying them for spring planting.ย  Clear out the dead, Ready for the new!

In late February we started some of our bedding plants from seed again. This is our third year using seed we saved from the fruit of our own garden. So easy, so economical, so fun, so satisfying.

planting seeds 1

It’s become our custom to plant the vegetable garden during the week following Mother’s Day. Everyone joins in. The kids are so enthusiastic about getting the seeds in the ground and tucking the bedding plants in nice and snug. And of course there’s the bonus of discovering hoppy-toads and long, juicy earthworms!

gardening 1

This year we are dreaming of a bountiful harvest of tomatoes and peppers and green beans and cucumbers and melons and more!

garden produce watermelon 2

And so where is the ‘art’ in all of this? You’ll find it in the lines and textures of the leaves and petals, in the color of the ripening fruit, in the silhouette of a flowering shrub, in the varieties of herbs and flowers potted along the step.


Gardening, digging down into the earth, brings us in contact with our roots (pun intended!). This is the material from which man was made. What better way to get in touch with The Creator, The Great Artist?

Corn 2

The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye…..well, maybe not quite

This post is written in participation with The Hidden Art of Homemaking book study at Ordo Amoris and Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.
If you’d like to catch up on previous chapters, you’ll find them HERE.

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  1. *Playing in the dirt* is the slogan for a local nursery around here and it really does motivate me to get out and just do something! I’m starting small (just on my back deck). Mainly to improve my view as I washed dishes. Hubby keeps our lawn mowed and raked.

    Your post perfectly illustrates Mrs Schaeffer’s ideas, especially the artistic crop of the lily ~

    • Thanks you, Dana. That is a great slogan, and starting small is a great way to incorporate gardening. A view from the kitchen window sounds like the perfect thing – enjoy!

  2. I am so impressed by your lovely garden…and the work it takes to produce such beauty! I love the zinnia border! I also love the fact that it’s a family affair. Perhaps if I had gardened with my family, I’d have learned to enjoy it more. Unfortunately, gardening is not a great pleasure of mine, except in small doses. (Questioning my word choice here…can one have a “dose” of gardening? Oh well…) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you Cheryl, for the nice compliment. But I have a confession – I’m truly not the gardener in the family. I’m the idea gal, and the canning/preserving gal. My children have really taken up the bulk of the work load. A labor of love with the promise of an abundant harvest. I’m so happy they enjoy it and willingly help out, otherwise the garden would be in a sad state, or non-existent.
      Personally I think small doses is just the thing for someone who doesn’t take to gardening on a large scale.

  3. Seed saving is a great development! So far I still haven’t graduated to starting my own seedlings (other than direct sow), but I’m hoping to conquer that step next year. It’s so amazing to see the little starts poke out from the soil and then start taking off! We just harvested our first crop of snap peas. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Mystie ๐Ÿ™‚ It took me years to get up the nerve to start our seeds. Now we wonder why. It was a small initial investment, and now we spend almost no money putting our garden in each year. And I do love seeing those fresh bright green sprigs struggling and popping their heads up searching for the sun and warmth. I hope you’ll give it a try!
      Oh, and I do love fresh peas! My children eat them like candy fresh from the garden – but we haven’t had much luck here. Maybe it’s the soil, or maybe we get enough hot weather too early, I don’t know. maybe I’ll let the children try again next year.

  4. Yes! That is another fundamental truth from this chapter — when we kneel down and put our hands into the earth, we can say truthfully, “This is what I’m made of. This is my substance.” How humbling that is! How it reminds us of who we are, and Who God is. Goodness, I was about to wax eloquent on how the various types of soil are like various human hearts. But I won’t ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It is humbling, Mary Kathryn. Amazing and awe-inspiring. I’d be very happy to hear your soil sermon, for I found myself recalling scripture after scripture that refers to soil and earth.
      I enjoyed this chapter very much, and there are more posts in the works because I just could not fit it all into one!

  5. Your garden is wonderful and to me it seems almost professional to save seeds. I used to think of doing that but it never got past a thought. I am also a fan of zinnias. I love that they can be picked for the indoors also.

    • I don’t know how professional we are, Cindy, but it sure is practical and economical. Educational, too. We first did it as a school assignment. Our little experiment was so successful we”ve kept it up year to year. My zinnias make me smile, and my children keep me supplies with colorful bouquets well into the fall.
      Thank you for stopping by and for your sweet comments.

  6. Wow! Wonderful garden!! I love zinnias, too, and wish I had room for them. I really liked what you said about getting back to our roots. It is very humbling to play in the dirt when you put it like that.

    • Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ Really, I’m not much of a gardener, but working it and enjoying it with my family has changed my attitude toward it and taught me so much.
      Do you have room for a flowerpot or two? There are dwarf zinnias that do well in pots. For the price of a small packet of seeds you could have that splash of color too!

  7. Oh, you have such beautiful flowers and garden. I love all the space that you have. Unfortunately, we have just a small postage size yard which doesn’t leave room much.

    I love the idea of saving the seeds for planting the next year.

    • Hi Beth, I’m glad you stopped by! Thank you for admiring our gardens. We are blessed with wide open spaces, but I grew up in the city suburbs, so I know how that is too. Have a blessed weekend!

  8. Look at you gardening in a skirt! Way to go!

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