Book Review: Garden Psalms

Garden Psalms:  God’s Gift of Comfort and Abundance, written by Margaret Langstaff

This book manages to combine in deft passion two subjects I greatly enjoy reading about, gardening [1] and the Psalms, and manages to combine them in a beautiful way.  The book is full of gorgeous images and graphic designs and the sort of stories that one would expect to see in the Reader’s Digest (I don’t consider that a bad thing).  There are a lot of quotes from the psalms, as one would expect, and the book manages to do a good job at providing thoughtful and reflective content without being trapped into the confines of a devotional, as this book easily could have been.  It is striking, at least to this reader, that it was by no means a straightforward task to figure out who wrote this book, as it is found only in a very short line in small print at the bottom of the book’s copyright page.  At any rate, the book is one worth looking at if you happen to enjoy comical (or tragicomical) stories about gardening and enjoy quotes taken from the Psalms even if they are largely verses taken in isolation.

The contents of this book are not organized in any particular apparent fashion, but there is a consistent format to the book, at least, where beautiful photos with citations from the psalms are included on the right side of the page and where the author’s reflections about some aspect of life often related to gardening is on the left side of the page.  Included at the bottom of the left page is a prayer or reflection that can be undertaken by the faithful gardener for their own spiritual growth.  There are nice elements as well including a ribbon that can be used as a bookmark for those who do not wish to fold the book’s pages.  There are some odd quirks as well about the way the book is laid out, including a total absence of page numbers, which for someone who reads pages in the manner I do is a bit disconcerting as I tend to like to know how many pages I have read in a given book.  At any rate, the material in this book is quite excellent and the text and pictures and citations from psalms combine to make a thoughtful work that encourages reflection and meditation, precisely its aim from what I can gather.

Even given the brevity of the text, though, this book manages to strike a note that is far less upbeat than I expected it to be.  Included is a story about how the author’s pets nearly died of dehydration because she had gone away and forgotten to tell the handyman to put out water for the animals.  Also included is a story about a scolding the author gave to her daughter for wandering around in the yard, only to have a bunch of flower buds in her dress when she finally came into sight.  The author also notes that not too many grumpy people who are pessimistic about life become gardeners, which is probably why I am not a gardener but enjoy reading books about the subject.  I suppose I must admit guilty as charged about being a somewhat gloomy person after all.  The author does manage to write with a great degree of assurance and confidence in God, but the book is also testament to the fear and the anxiety of life, the impatient waiting, the knowledge that sometimes things do not turn out as we would wish.  All of this is part of the process of gardening as well as living, is it not?

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity, Psalms and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Book Review: Garden Psalms

  1. Pingback: A Garden Worth Returning To | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Everyman’s Bible Commentary: Volume 1: Psalms 1-21 | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Meet Yourself In The Pslams | Edge Induced Cohesion

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