My Talking Garden

September 2018

I am compounding my previous attempts at writing and my current attempts at drawing, in the hope to produce a small book for publication, for the real world, or for the virtual space.  Where no drawings are done I have used other photos to complete the piece.
I hope you will enjoy this simple compilation of inspiration taken from my garden.



This work is about observations, and conversations that came alive while I sat in my garden.   It is not about my garden, nor is it about me.
It does no justice to prose, literature, or the art of writing or drawing.  It is  simply a  gleaning of inspiration from God’s marvellous creation in the garden.
Acknowledgements go to my writing companions at that time, Lorraine, Judy and Shannon who came together to write words for the first attempt at publishing a small book called :  Well Scribed.     And to June Dovey, who is currently teaching me how to draw with sharp pencils.
It is dedicated to my Creator, with a wish that you the Reader may know Him too, and come to appreciate His work of magnificence in creation,  – of which you may be one of
His special masterpieces !



My geranium

In my garden is a small red geranium, seemingly leaning on the foot of the giant Strelitzia growing in the corner, behind the bird feeder.
A morning blast of sunlight made this red geranium centre stage.
How brilliant the red I thought.
Not in itself heralding a call of focus, just being content in being there, brilliant in its position, in its colour, in its own small glory.
My heart aligned itself to the red geranium, and for a moment that is what I wanted to be.
No want for the clamouring of position, of attention for love, of big dreams fulfilled.  No want to cry for the well-being of family and friends and country.
No want, no needs, no demands.
What bliss.
Just to be there, to bake in the glory of the morning Son, nestled at the foot of the Father – and for a moment
Just To Be.
To let go and live in this day, no matter the busy, the chore, the pain,
but to live in peace and in quiet.
Today I am going to have a red geranium day, I thought !
And just be a splash of bright colour in my own garden,
to rest in a kind of contentment that peace brings.
May you, my friend too, have a red a red geranium day,
And share this vast contentment that is mine today.

In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength

Isaiah 30:15

three butterflies



My Dove

The early morning air was crisper than usual.  Even the steam from my coffee cup was more pronounced.  Indeed March was marching on to meet its destiny in Winter.
The garden was very quiet this morning.   Nothing stirred, until a flapping of wings announced the arrival of the dove, that landed upon the edge of the bird bath.   I sat quietly and watched.
The dove was very alert.  His black beady, all-seeing eye, scanned the surrounds.  Tossing his head vigorously from side to side,  he made sure there was no lurking danger.
I thought to myself, perhaps he has a degeneration of one eye, and would see more clearly with the better eye.   Silly me, I scolded myself, birds don’t have degeneration.   However it must be awkward to have your eyes on either side of your head.   But in bird world it serves as a warning system to alerted danger.

The dove, once sure there was no threat, dropped his head into the cool water and drank deeply, fat blobs of water going down his gullet.   He was thirsty this morning.   He again scanned his area, and in that moment I captured a picture of his design.  The soft shades of his beautiful feathers, minutely arranged to fold over each other formed a cascading oneness fitting the design of the dove.    Even the dove’s face, perfectly made up  by its Designer’s paint brush.
Oh, the Creator’s perfection, I thought !  And what an eye for detail.

If we would only quietly observe the beauty of the Great Designer’s hand in all of creation, what awesome wonders we would see.  Indeed we live in an artistic wonderland.
Lord, open my eyes to see the beauty around me.

Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as a dove.

Matthew 10:16

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water feature

Neatly tucked among a growth of green hedge, securely implanted, is the little pebble water feature.   Every morning the pump turns on to bring up the gurgling of the water sprout.
What peace, what noise, what joy this little commotion brings.  Steadily throughout the day, often unnoticed it gurgles on and on.
On continued scrutiny I see the bubble and gurgle continue relentlessly.
The ripples it sends out, the bubbles that form and foam, and swiftly slip over the edge onto the pebbles beneath, sucked up in the vortex, back to the pump, pumping up the water again to form a living and lively experience.
Movement and motion – like life itself.
Deeper into the meaning of life is the fountain of living water.
That youthful elixir,  the source of life, the beginning and the end, and everything in between.

O, that we may all drink deeply from the living water Christ provides, and send out too, the ripples of joy and peace, just like the bubbles of the gurgling water sprout.

John 14:14          ….  But the water that I shall give him will become in him
                                     a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.

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Broccoli tree

Viewed from a distance, forming the backdrop of my Talking Garden,
Stand my broccoli trees.
Some rainy days in a misty hue,
Often swayed by gentle breezes,
Other times thrashed by tumultuous winds,
But mostly serenely standing there,
Tall full-bodied, plump, bluey green and round –
Just like the clumpy broccoli on my plate.
The scenic trees remind me of goodness, of fullness,
of a well-being, of health, and the goodness of the earth –
And mostly of the goodness of God’s provision for us all.

                        Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good,
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him !

Psalm 34:8

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My Finch

Billy, the-best-gardener-ever, had planted out a patch of marigolds – little lemon drops interspersed with orangey-brown ones.   These he planted under the two ‘goofy palms’ (really Cocos palms) that stand guard at the edge of the lawn.   Mr and Mrs Finch had, days passed, weaved together most brilliantly, an upside down nest, as is their custom to do.
I stood amazed at this wonder of excellent craftmanship.   Being a bit of a knitter myself I wondered who had taught Mr Finch to weave such wonders?
However, fussy Mrs Finch, obviously a perfectionist, had found some fault with it and had literally chucked out Mr Finch’s superb ‘beak-work”,  not being satisfied with – whatever !!
Billy, the best gardener ever, had picked up the nest and neatly placed it in the diamond shape of the trellis-work he had put up against the boundary wall.|  It was only a day later that Mrs Finch removed the nest from the trellis-work, and unceremoniously stripped the nest into fine shreds !   Gone was the nest, and Mr Finch’s masterpiece.

Now days later, obviously still in the vicinity, Mrs Finch must have paid us a visit, probably attracted by the breadcrumbs Craig had put out on the lawn for our feathered visitors.   Then the mystery !  Mrs. Finch disapproved of Billy –the-best-gardener-ever’s colour scheme, and pecked off all the petals of the orangey-brown marigolds, but not the yellow petals of the lemon drops. A mystery to me ?
Annoyance flared up : it was one thing to constantly peck and find fault with Mr Finch’s masterpiece, but Fussy-Fussy Mrs Finch better not step over the mark of my creative gardener.  I was ready to shoo her away next time I saw her in the goofy palms.

Observing a little more deeply I wondered where constant dissatisfaction really comes from ?  Always finding the fault instead of seeing the weave and design of a masterpiece,  whether in the garden or in the people around us.

May we choose to see, and appreciate the beauty in all that is around us, and more importantly in the people God has put in our lives.

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God will shine forth.
Psalm 50:2

 PS    I have come to learn that my Mrs Fussy-Fussy Finch is in fact a Weaver bird, and that if she rejects the nest made by Mr ‘Finch’,  it is he who destroys the nest, and not the female.  So my apologies for my then ignorance, and of course too to ‘Mrs
Fussy-Fussy Finch’

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bread crumbs


Soaking up the noonday sun, I sat and sipped my tea.  Just being lazy with a nothingness day ahead of me.    How nice are the days when nothing has to be done.
‘Craig had scattered the breadcrumbs a little thicker and chunkier today,’ I thought to myself.
There was a small commotion in the goofy palms, and I saw the family Finch back again.   This time with a cousin or two.   They too had spotted the breadcrumbs and would painstakingly scrutinize every movement before making a hysterical dash for the lawn, pick up a chunk of bread, back into the goofy palms and munch on their lunch.
One finch pecked at another’s lunch and flitted up to the next branch to eat undisturbed – ‘mm Mrs Finch I presumed !   Or was it just the nature of the pecking order !
However, now alert to my Talking Garden, I watched as other birds would nervously scout the surrounds before dashing for a crumb or two.   Then frantically fly off in case a danger engulfed them.   Such nervous creature are our fine feathered friends – almost to the point of a neurosis !
There was no need to be so desperate.   There was an abundance of breadcrumbs for this day.    Provision had been provided in plenteousness.    And then the light went on !
Such is my situation too.   Almost desperate in my circumstance, and certainly want to fly away from it all – and yet all my provision is provided for this day.
I too have breadcrumbs in abundance.   The Provider is faithful for the sufficiencies of our day.
We need to develop a mindset of abundance, and not one of lack.   Abundance to receive and abundance to give.
God is my Provider – what else can I say,  in Him  is everything I need.

Give us this day
Our daily bread

Matthew 6:11

 three butterflies




My Cape Robin


Sitting, deep in thought, on my couch over looking my garden, through a sliding door, for Winter had not yet bidden her last farewell, I saw the Cape Robbin settling on the trellis next to the bird feeder.
This little fellow was whistling his bird songs from a full feathered breast, tinged in light ochre.
Still pondering the thought for the day, I heard Him whistle for my attention, through the joyful notes of the Robbin.  Clear as a bell it was.
I was attentive.   What do you see? He asked.   Alert now, I remembered a few weeks ago the same question : what do you see? – when I had seen all kinds of birds eating out of the same dish of the bird feeder.   I see birds eating out of the same dish I replied in my mind.
And now again my thoughts turn to that day, that encounter when He expressed to me through My Talking Garden what was on His heart : His people in unity, in community, in caring.   I’ll try Lord to encourage them to come together, to connect to them, was my response.
So listen for His call, for He is Lord of all – of the Cape Robbin and of me !

PS  soon after this encounter, there was a breakfast for community care to the people in squatter camps.  There was also a call to community carers who feed the poor and needy in the city.   And there was a small conference on  ‘For Good’ in community – finding yourself on a social network, invading cyberspace.

Listen for His call, its relevant for the today times.

               And you who dwell in the gardens,
The companions listen for your voice  –
Let me hear it !

           Song of Solomon 8:13

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Gaura Butterfly bush.jpg

There are little white flowers in my garden.
I look upon them everyday.
They are bushy, dainty and bright.
Comes the day, when they wilt and want to fade away.
And indeed I think their season is over.
Bleak and almost grey they became.
My heart takes on their hue, and I see my life reflected in my garden.
Then one morning, after showers of soft rain, my little white flowers took on their re-bloom.
Re-bloom – how gracious of my little white flowers to re-bloom,
To bloom again, just for me.
Re-blooming is a constant continuing, a never giving up.
How refreshing are my little white flowers that speak of a gracious God,
Who causes us to re-bloom
Often after  the grey seasons of our lives,
with second, and even new beginnings.
Thank you my little dainty flowers for speaking to me of
the grace of  re-blooming.

            Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed.
Because His compassions fail not
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22,23

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After showers of rain, I sat again one morning with my cat upon my lap, enjoying the fresh quiet morning, looking out upon my garden.   I saw a micro movement in the blades of grass, and stopped my gaze to look, to see, what caused the motion.
I was amazed to see a long thin brown wiggling worm trying desperately to get there … “where I wondered are you going?”
My gaze was held by another wiggly movement, yet another struggling worm ? This time I went to investigate.
I found a pair of struggling wings, a little praying mantis, with either a broken wing or a broken ankle, it was grounded and probably doomed to die.    I took a stick and prodded the little desperado, just to encourage it in its struggles.   But it played dead.  I decided that I couldn’t save all and so let nature take its course.
I went back to my chair on the patio.  My mind turned to God, and for a moment I saw myself as this giant human, sitting on my stoep, in the grandstand seat of life, watching the passing parade of the lives of the micro inhabitants of my garden.   I could just squash these little struggling beasties, and put them out of the misery of wriggling and squirming in the monumental struggles of their minute existence.
But the longer I sat and observed the worm, the more compassion began to rise up in me.   “This little worm really was trying to get somewhere.   How could I help it?  Pick it up and put it where – ?  Which direction was it going, for blade after blade of grass hindered the worm.  Didn’t it belong in a hole somewhere ?  Why did it not just go back to its hole,”  I wondered.
As I sipped my Rooibos tea, ….  ” and the lesson Lord?”  I ask of God.   I knew He was watching me watch the struggling worm.
“Despite the struggles, I am still in control”  He said.  “I know what I am doing” He said.   “The struggles of life are necessary to conform you into the image of my Son.   I know what I am doing.   I have started a good work in you, and I will bring it to completion,” came the words.   ” You will be a bride adorned with jewels and finery, wealth and riches, like the Queen of Sheba”  will be in your home  –  “do you remember the story? ” He asked.
I went to look up 2 Chronicles 9:12 ..and King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides that which she had brought unto the king.  So turned and went away to her own land, she and her servants.’   “I like that Lord, ” I said. And was for a moment rested in my own struggles, and a little more than comforted by the wisdom of the Scriptures – and the struggles of the worm.

“Fear not, you worm Jacob,
You men of Israel !
I will help you”
says the LORD

Isaiah 41:14

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My Squirrel

Wide eyed and bushy tailed is the Squirrel,
Alert, ever enquiring, eager to gather,
A collector of nuts and things and whateverings is the Squirrel.
Quick, ready to go, steady to start,
Provider, hoarder, visionary, and smart
is the Squirrel.


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My Talking Garden
Carol Lyle
Written 2009
Illustrated 2018

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