This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Having noticed some of the minor, though interesting and important benefits resulting from the culture and love of flowers, we may pass on to the higher aspects of the subject. As a branch of the great field of nature, the vegetable kingdom has always yielded important contributions to natural theology, on account of the obviousness of its bearing on many of the divine attributes. A more curious piece of mechanism than a flower it is difficult to conceive of, when viewed in connexion with the secret laws of life which develop its parts, paint its petals with such various hues, enable it to diffuse fragrance, and animate its organs of reproduction. If the being of a God can be proved by well-defined marks of design in natural objects, then the argument need not be carried beyond a flower; and while we hope that none of our readers require this proof to convince them of the existence of a great Creator, we may express a wish that their pleasing engagements will often confirm their assurance that He is always near them, whose unquestionable signet is " Wrought in each flower/inscribed on every tree".
We leave this beaten track for one less common, and shall only remark at present on the tendency of flowers to diffuse into our hearts imperceptibly a sense of the great kindness of our heavenly Father towards us. As the teaching of example is better than precept, so the constant testimony borne by vegetable life to the benevolent intentions of Him who is the source of it, is more forcible than any doctrinal statement can be. We believe that the love of flowers so strongly manifested by all children, arises in a great measure from an intuitive perception that they are scattered around them with the intention of contributing to their happiness. We have seen more than the admiration of beauty, of shape, and colouring on the countenance of the child who explores every nook and corner, in spring, for the purpose of forming a simple bouquet of wild flowers: when looking upon and displaying its acquisitions, it is often deep affection which brightens the eye and suffuses every feature with pure gladness.
The little one could not indeed frame a theological proposition to express its ideas; but the heart is evidently at work, and natural piety is linking its best feelings with Him who communes with it in his works, and to whom docility and unwavering confidence appeared the best qualifications for an entrance into "the kingdom of heaven." Advancing years, by increasing our self-confidence, and diminishing our faith in the constant presence of our Maker, destroy too often this beautiful simplicity of character. Instead of being satisfied with what is given us with daily and generous profusion, we look for "signs and wonders," and close that book of Nature whose characters conveyed such a charm to our young and unsophisticated spirits. Those must be losers who, after roaming in search of flowers in childhood, give up all acquaintance with them in after life; and therefore we think good must accrue, in various degrees, when that simple intercourse is either kept up or renewed.
How pleasing is the thought which sound reason encourages us to entertain, that from the beginning of the year unto its close, there is in the domain of Nature an uninterrupted effort to contribute to our comfort and happiness ! In the several seasons our wants are considered, - but this is not all; our imagination, our sense of the beautiful, and our intellectual tendencies, all find their appropriate objects in close connexion with utility. And lest our attention should flag from a constant uniformity of operation and of scene, the spectacles presented are as various as the months, and almost as the days. Even the winter season gives occasion for some special beauties to win the eye and the heart; the spring enchants by its tender greenness and budding blooms; summer spreads the earth with sparkling gems and more than Tyrian dyes; and autumn combines use with beauty in golden corn-fields and luscious fruits. In all this, man is not treated as a machine, or a slave, or a criminal, but as a favourite child whom the Parent delights to please; and the culture of flowers is thus eminently adapted to satisfy the wants of our moral nature, and to assure us, concurrently with other intimations, that God affectionately regards and cares for us.