Image Gallery: Quiet Gardens offer reflective space, tranquility

September 14, 2009

An image gallery accompanying this article is available here. A Quiet Garden is both place and program. These tranquil spots for solitary refreshment offer opportunities for learning and praying in community. Located at churches, private homes and retreat centers, each Quiet Garden reflects local needs, culture and climate. Some are tucked into city courtyards and vacant lots; a few command great vistas; and others are part of permacultures, productive landscapes modeled on natural ecological systems, such as at the Community of the Holy Spirit's Bluestone Farm in Brewster, New York. Even where extreme weather makes garden time difficult, Quiet Garden programs continue. Every third Thursday, even in the Iowa winter, the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Des Moines brings one of the arts and contemplation into dialogue in the adjoining undercroft. Quiet Gardens focus on values of beauty, creation care and hospitality. Gloria Waggoner, curator of Paulsen House in the Diocese of Spokane, says that these values work together when hospitality means forgoing pesticides and herbicides and working withnature, not against it, to sustain peaceful places of healing, welcoming to people and other creatures. The Rev. Philip D. Roderick, an Anglican priest, founded the Quiet Garden Movement in Britain in 1992. There are now more than 300 venues on six continents.

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