Gardens

 

The Rule of Saint Benedict is insistent that monks participate in manual labor to avoid becoming idle.  Through the cultivation of gardens monks cared for the needs of the local community, as well as for themselves.

 

Monasteries have a long-standing tradition of cultivating various types of gardens.  They were essential for food, herbs and medicinal uses.  Initially monastery gardens contained local floral, but as various peoples traveled from place to place they brought with them exotic species.  The monastic garden expanded to include many different medicinal plants and herbs.

 

In combination with animal husbandry, gardens also provided food for the monastery through orchards, vegetable gardens and herbs for culinary use. Gardens contributed to the continued development of related endeavors such as apiaries, winemaking, brewing, cider making and even the study of medicine.

 

Since ancient times gardens have been seen as symbols of paradise.  Even today they are places of tranquility and serenity to which many people seek to withdraw or retreat.  The garden environment is conducive to quieting the mind to allow for meditation and prayer.  This is a primary reason for the existence of our public garden areas.  They raise our minds to God and the wonder and beauty of His creation.  In our often all to busy modern, fast-paced lives, gardens are more necessary to our spiritual well being than perhaps ever before.  Abundant plants and native wildlife testify to the beauty of the natural world we often overlook. 

 

Our monastery garden contains a variety of flowering plants, medicinal and culinary herbs, and ornamental shrubs and trees.  The grounds (with the exception of the cloister area) are open to public viewing. We ask visitors to our gardens to be mindful of this intention by respecting the peace and quiet of the garden areas. 

 

As we move into the future and continue the building of this monastery, we hope to devote more time and resources to animal husbandry and gardening.