Garden Graith or Talks Among My Flowers by Sarah F. Smiley. Published in 1880 by Anson D.F. Randolph & Company and printed by Edward O. Jenkins in New York. This dear little treasure has given me great reading pleasure over the years. The author beautifully expresses her faith and relates how she has cultivated her relationship with the Creator of all things through the bountiful harvest of lessons she gleans from the rain, the seeds, the weeds, the flowers and fragrances of her garden. Ms. Smiley invites her pot-bound reader into her garden… and to immersing ourselves in the natural world that surrounds us, wherever we may be.
It appears that this humble book, rich in spiritual insights, acquired a growing readership, as many years later, I found a ninth edition copy of her book published by Hodder and Stoughton and printed by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury, MCMII.
There isn’t a page of her book that I don’t savor, so I will begin with the first chapter and share Ms. Smiley’s perspective on The Garden Itself.
“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden…… And the Lord God took man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Gen ii. 8-15). O for a moment’s vision of that garden! – planted by His own hands, who beholding all that He had made to be very good, and His fair world yet without sin, could in His holy leisure gather up the choicest of His creations, and group them in a garden, and so hand them over to be the joy of His unfallen children – showing Himself thus in His first act towards man to be the giving God, – giving liberally, giving lovingly. Has such a thought as this ever come to you, dear friends, as you looked at some exquisite flower, or on some tree of surpassing stateliness and symmetry – perchance the seed of this came originally from Eden, or this may be the shoot of one of those self-same trees beneath the shadow of which their own Creator walked? Flowers have ever seemed to me an unfallen part of earth – mementos of Eden, and pledges of Paradise…… So we will even leave the study and its dearly treasured books, and come out into the garden, where the voice of God is yet audible, and look and listen together, and learn what He has to teach us out of His own handiwork. We will go down the hill into the hollow, and take our seats in the little arbor that encircles the tall elm-tree, and here with the garden spread out before us we will watch its growth as the seasons pass on, and gather up its graith* as our more lasting possession. * Graith – furniture; goods; riches.
If her quiet observations and humble reflections stir your heart, then I pray that you too will find a copy of Garden Graith for your own reading pleasure and spiritual edification.