Tag Archives: Edith Schaeffer

Gardening? I’m on it!

pimiento peppers with nasturtiums

I thought I would skip this week’s discussion of The Hidden Art of Homemaking at Ordo Amoris, because what on earth — or about growing things in the earth — could I possibly say, that I haven’t said in my 115 blog posts that already have the tag “garden”?

But this chapter comes in springtime when it’s hard not to talk about gardening. I’d rather be in the garden doing it, but what do you know, it’s raining as I begin this ramble. And I happened to run across a couple of other blog posts as reminders that I haven’t covered every aspect of the subject.

kale with Mexican bush sage

The spiritual aspects of gardening are well treated by Vigen Guroian whose book is excerpted in  this blog. But I have a hard time making myself read about gardens or gardening, and if I wanted to convince a non-gardener to give it a try, I would just have them work in my garden with me a few times, and hope that they might by osmosis come to see the fun to be had.

If you don’t have a yard, as Edith says you can have a pot of something, and if you don’t want that, you can grow some sprouts on your kitchen counter. There are so many kinds of sprouting seeds available that you can grow a tasty and gorgeous salad in a week or so.

I do love to visit other people’s gardens and even look at pictures of my own yards of yesteryear, so I looked long enough at this Garden Rant post to see that it was about the gardener’s dismay when he realized that he had planted a dreadfully monochromatic and inartistic design.

His problem is the flip side of what I am careful about, the planting of clashing colors. What? you say, echoing my husband, don’t all the colors go together, as in God’s creation? It doesn’t seem to work that way in my gardens. Magenta flowers have caused me problems in the past – they don’t look nice with some of the red flowers nearby.

Once a bunch of bright red-orange flowers pretty much spoiled the look of my pale yellow and pale pink roses when they sprouted up in between, while the lavender bush in the same spot blended in nicely. So, I try to avoid mismatches and matchy-matchy. Most of the pictures I’m posting here are of nice contrasts in my own garden, but the one below is from our friends’ neglected beach cottage yard. It’s surprising how glorious these bright and wild colors look together. In foggy coastal areas it seems that whatever flowers you have are a welcome brightness, and they always steal the show by contrast with the white or grey skies.

Here’s a much quieter scene: Greyish Lambs Ears make a soft contrast to almost any bright color, as with these pincushion flowers.


And even the magenta rhododendron is nice with blue campanula. I have learned to think of my garden beds as individual paintings, each with its own color scheme that may change somewhat with the seasons. Some have magenta, while some on the other side of the yard have red.

unusual California poppy with Hot Lips salvia

Either color can go with yellow or orange or blue…

It’s fun creating landscapes, if you don’t mind surprises, and  w – a – i – t – i – n – g  for things to grow and bloom, and sometimes having to re-do your design or be happy with a missing part that died. If you take pictures or actually take paints to paper and save an image of the way your plants’ colors and textures have miraculously blended to become Beautiful, you can remember and enjoy your past gardens for years to come.

See and be His art.

The second chapter of The Hidden Art of Homemaking is short, and titled “What is Hidden Art?” I love reading all the many women’s thoughts on this topic, which [used to be found, but not these several years later] on Ordo Armoris where the discussion [was] taking place.

It’s a huge topic! Each human is a living and complex demonstration of creative powers, as is revealed by the uniqueness of each woman’s life as expressed in her contributions to these discussions. The stories, the photos on the Hidden Art Pinterest page, the glimpses into the families whose wives and mothers are taking time to share their creativity online in addition to the never-ending work they do in their homes….it’s all a glory to the Creator.

Obviously, art is hidden as long as you don’t see it. That seems a basic point of this discussion. For me, having children opened my eyes to the world in a new way, because I often thought of my babies as tiny foreigners who were themselves seeing things in this new “country” for the first time. It was fun being the tour guide, and it challenged me to look afresh at my environment.

Sometimes just pointing a camera at some everyday scene helps to reveal a pattern of beauty – or to preserve the art when there isn’t time for a quick sketch. My picture that I titled “Butter Art” so many years ago still makes me happy with its hominess, and it calls to mind the intangible kinds of creativity that I also brought to bear on the task of mothering my children, small “art” projects that took place in the kitchen, or the garden, or — the heart.

I’m still pondering the thoughts of my previous post on this inward kind of creativity, which the author I quoted says “begins with the ability to change — to change intentionally. Creativeness begins with the ability a being has…to become what he is not yet, to start at the point at which he was created and then grow into a fullness that he did not possess before…”

Might this not include the developing in us of the fruits of the Spirit, the love, joy, peace, kindness, longsuffering, etc. that are so essential to making a home? I know that Edith Schaeffer in the book under discussion is primarily dealing with outward, visual or sensory beauty. But what if we could “create” peace by our very presence, or transfer some of our own joy into our children’s hearts?

Mothers naturally do those kinds of things, and often it’s by the attitude they have while they are accomplishing practical works such as laundering the socks, changing them from stiff and smelly to soft and fresh. It all starts with something we are. The artistry of our God is not just something to imitate, but is His active work in us, with which we participate, and by which we become ourselves lights in the world.

Edith Schaeffer

Edith Schaeffer died today!

I only heard by just now reading this blog post, from a friend of mine whose mother and I are friends and fellow home-lovers. Edith Schaeffer through two of her books, What is a Family and The Hidden Art of Homemaking, helped me in many ways to develop my own style and philosophy of homemaking.

Several particular principles and practices, from the importance of caring for the sick to table decorating, became part of my being and contributed to the joy of being the woman of my home. She was the first decidedly Christian person I read who understood the importance of beauty in the home, and she gave many (I remember I thought almost too many!) examples of how one might create a home environment that was rich in all the important things, even if worldly riches were lacking.

I am very thankful for this sister in Christ. May she rest in peace, and may her memory be eternal.