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Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing. Today’s writer/gardener guest is Christa MacDonald who will talking about her garden and its healing and calming effect. I’m sure we can all relate. I know I can. Welcome, Christa!

Tomatoes in Grow Bags

It’s June and my garden is already overgrown. I have not been attentive this year. This is more of a problem than usual because I added two additional beds. Also complicating things, I decided to put my tomatoes in grow-bags. It’s my anti-blight experiment. For years I never had blight issues, but the last two summers have been pretty brutal so I’m seeing if the grow bags can solve it. So far, I’ve only seen the impact on my water bill. Yikes these things dry out quickly!

The roses have been outstanding this year. Is anyone else having a rose year to end all years? It’s a balm to my tattered soul.

After a very rough few months managing a job heavily impacted by the pandemic, I went into this gardening year a bit ragged. This was followed by the sudden loss of my 17-year-old daughter, Eden, to an undiagnosed, asymptomatic intracranial brain hemorrhage. The shock, the struggle to save her and the devastation knowing we couldn’t has nearly finished me off. Grief is an angry ocean, and I am tossed about on its waves, struggling to keep my head above water. Sitting in my garden, especially in the evenings, is a way I’ve found to calm the seas. 

Gardens are healing places. I’m not sure if it’s being connected to God’s creation, the smell and vibrancy of life all around, or just the quiet and peace of it that does it. The garden offers a safe place to be your wounded self. Weeping is entirely acceptable with the plants, and so is staring off into the distance, lost in thought. And if you’re feeling the rage coming, take it out on the weeds. They won’t mind. 

Eden’s Rose

In my family, I’m the only gardener. Eden hated gardening, although she loved plants, specifically bright, vibrant, unusual ones. She even kept a moss terrarium up in her room. But the act of digging in the dirt, dodging bees (she was allergic to wasps), and dealing with the heat – not her thing. Every Saturday, though, we’d watch the BBC program Gardeners’ World together. I even planted a rose because it shared her name. 

As it happens, that rose was in the front yard and took a beating this winter. It looked close to death, so I transplanted it to my herbaceous border in the back. At first, things were looking grim, but it hung tough, and a few days ago, just after Eden died, the rose with her name gave me a bloom. It was as if the garden knew I needed to see that proof of life. I, of course, wept. 

But our family has something better than a bloom as proof of life after death. Eden was a child of God, saved by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Our souls are eternal, and it’s a comfort knowing that hers is with the Father. 

Sitting in my garden tonight, in the gloaming, I can’t help but think that those of us who garden, who hike forests, who farm, who seek out God’s creation, we are the lucky few. God is the original gardener; we are His apprentice. Time spent tending his creation is time spent with Him. What is more healing than that? 

About the Writer/Gardener:

Christa MacDonald is a lifelong gardener and writer living in New England despite its terribly short growing season. She’s the author of the Sweet River Redemption contemporary Christian romance series. All three books are now out on Amazon and the first in the series, The Broken Trail, is on audio at Audible

Connect with Christa on her Website.

Redemption Road

By Christa MacDonald

It’s redemption that he needs, and she’ll pay any price to help him find it.

As the new game warden in Sweet River, Alex Moretti is focused on enforcing Maine’s wildlife laws and little else. Moving from tragedy to a fresh start, all he wants is a way to fix his life in the tranquility of the north woods. Until he meets Annie Caldwell at Coffee by the Book. But his own bitter, dark life is a threat to Annie’s sweetness and light. It’s better for him to stay away.

Annie doesn’t know how to label her relationship with Alex, but she is determined to figure it out. After a few false starts and a kiss under the Christmas lights, their romance goes from fiction to fact. Annie has fallen hard. Then trouble shows up. Someone is stalking Alex, seeking to punish him for a mistake which ended in deadly consequences. When Annie becomes a target, he tries to push her away, but she won’t abandon him. Alex is desperate to keep Annie safe while he attempts to reconcile the past, but what he really needs is redemption. And she will risk her life to help him find it.