My own little Garden of Eden would not look like the painting of the same name by Breughel and Rubens. My garden would be a relatively small affair, easily weeded and maintained. I want a compact garden where every inch is utilized and nothing is overgrown.
When I was a very small child, and could not yet read, I would sit with my Grandma Hammons. Together we leafed through her huge old family Bible. I was particularly fascinated with Grandma’s Bible because, in addition to all the wonderful stories, it was filled with full-color illustrations. Some of the illustrations depicting famous Bible events were painted by old masters. One in particular, “The Garden of Eden” by Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens, both fascinated and perplexed me.
That famous painting of the Garden of Eden, like so many others, didn’t have much of a garden in it. It mostly consisted of a naked couple surrounded by lions, tigers, and sheep. Almost all of the paintings depicting The Garden of Eden had a similar theme. The gardens I knew of were nothing like the paintings. Where was the corn? The tomatoes? The zinnias and marigolds? What kind of garden just held animals and naked people?
Nowadays you may hear a superb garden described as “like Paradise” or “like I envisioned The Garden of Eden.” Actually, “Paradise” came down to us through an old Persian (Iranian) term for “walled enclosure.” And the Bible itself doesn’t get especially graphic when describing the Garden of Eden. There’s a mention of a river, a field, a tree or two. One tree in particular.
But I have my own idea of what “Paradise” would look like and it’s this: A small garden, well-tended, with tidy raised beds, and not a lot of grass. I want vegetables and a couple of fruit trees, and over in the corner a nice shady spot for sitting. That’s all. Not a lot, really. Any of the gardens in the following photos would do.
My own little Garden of Eden could look like any of these.
What would your perfect garden look like?
© Wade Kingston