Monday, April 08, 2013

A Garden of Visible Prayer--perfect for the Catholic Gardener

Are you Catholic?  a gardener?  Do you know a gardener who is Catholic?  This blog is for you!

My friend, Margaret Realy has written a wonderful book on creating prayer gardens.  This week, some of her fans and I are trying to bump up her sales and get it on the Amazon Top 100.  Why?  Because it's Spring--a time for new growth.  Because it's the Easter Season--a time for rebirth spiritually.  Because Margaret is a lovely woman living on her disability and deserves some help.  Most of all, though, because the book is a fabulous gift to anyone wanting to create a more prayerful surrounding.

Please consider buying A Garden of Visible Prayer this week--especially April 15, Margaret's "Amazon Day."  Use this link.  

Here's a little about the book:

Have you ever wandered outside and wished you could find a place to just sit and pray, a garden space to find solace in the demands of today’s world? Do you desire to create a garden space that will help meet your spiritual needs? Have you wanted to create a memorial garden and not known how to begin?
A Garden of Visible Prayer shows you how to develop a contemplative outdoor space in a creative and systematic manner. Whether you are a new gardener or an old hand, wanting to create a public or a private retreat area, this book will guide you in a step-by-step approach to discern what leads you, personally, to a deeper sense of spirituality and then how to take that information to create your own outdoor space for prayer.
This book is unlike the beautiful glossy garden books that leave you hungry for a lovely landscape or the inspirational books on developing your faith that do not meet your need to experience prayer in nature. A Garden of Visible Prayer helps you feed both hungers for natural beauty and spiritual insight.
Set up in a systematic approach, this book breaks into three easily understandable units to create an outdoor retreat: discern, design, and development. In the discerning process you will establish what elements in a garden lead you to become quiet and introspective, fostering spiritual growth. The next section guides you in designing your prayer space; where to locate it, where to place the features you have chosen and how to select plants. There is also a section on Catholic traditions in the garden at the end of the book. The final chapters on development tell you how to install your garden based on your design.
Gardens are places of growth, not only for plants but for our souls as well. Creating an outdoor spiritual sanctuary, no matter how small, is now within every gardener’s reach.

Sound good? Please consider buying A Garden of Visible Prayer this week--especially April 15, Margaret's "Amazon Day."  Use this link.    (Yeah, I sound like one of those internet sites that sells the self-help books, but seriously, I  was very impressed with this book and with Margaret as a gardener, a writer, and a friend.)

I have a black thumb--seriously, I can kill a silk plant--but I still enjoyed this book for the faith content.  Margaret goes way beyond generic ideas for making a beautiful spot to pray:  she uses concrete examples of other gardens and has pulled in a lot of the symbols and lore about specific plants to help you make a garden that is truly meaningful.  I am saving my copy for that information alone.  Here's what some other readers have said:

Long time gardener and author, Margaret Rose Realy believes that solace and the gentle voice of God can be heard in a garden. Take a walk with her within the pages of her beautifully crafted unique book, A Garden of Visible Prayer as she descriptively guides you every step of the way to create your own personal retreat space, incorporating a variety of elements, which will lead you to prayer. Even with meager means or a small space, by following the steps in this book, your end result will be a distinctive and beautiful setting in which you can bask in God’s creation and where you may very well hear His voice telling you to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is a Catholic speaker and author of numerous books and EWTN TV host.

Many books can show you how to design a garden that pleases the eye and ensures good plant growth, but few books help you create a garden that promotes your spiritual growth.    Margaret begins by giving you tools to determine the spiritual aspects that you want in your garden as well as the sensual and physical characteristics that influence site, plant and accessory selection. She then provides practical design techniques, pointers on plant selection, soils and media, containers and tips on planting trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.  This book is useful for anyone designing a new garden but invaluable for those of us looking to create a space for meditation, contemplation and prayer.  Dean M. Krauskopf, Ph.D., Extension Education Emeritus, Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service

This is the season for coaxing new life from the ground and creating a beautiful space.  Why not do that for your soul as well?  Please consider buying A Garden of Visible Prayer this week--especially April 15, Margaret's "Amazon Day."  Use this link.  

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