Giddy in a Cow Head garden

It might sound a little strange if you’re from Ontario, but I love Cow Head! It was one of my favourite stops on our Newfoundland adventure. That’s where I was captivated by St. Mary’s Botanical Walk.


It was late on a cool, dreary afternoon when A. (my oldest son did a lot of the driving on this trip) pulled off the road all of a sudden. As I woke from my nap–an important part of every vacation!–all I could see out the car window were pretty pink roses. And that was just the beginning.


I don’t get giddy very often, but when I saw the churchyard stretched out beside St. Mary’s Anglican Church, I just about did a jig. I know the sign said it was a “walk” but I couldn’t help myself. I pretty much danced from flower bed to flower bed, ooohing and aaaaahing over the tidy raised beds full of flowers!


Not only were there pretty daisies and stands of sedum, but there were charming details hidden in the garden, too. Little painted stones announced the names of almost every plant and flower. A tiny replica of the white wooden church collected donations. Someone had carefully chosen the perfect plants for a church garden: Maltese Cross, Monkshood, and lilies (consider the lilies of the field!). Pretty benches around every corner invited rest and reflection. And in several places, hand-lettered plaques announced that, “One is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.”

There was even a corner dedicated to vegetables. The turnip looked like it had a long way to go, but the lettuce was coming along quite nicely. Surprisingly for Newfoundland, there were no cabbages or potatoes!


I could have stayed at that garden for hours, but our bellies were begging for supper. So we went back to the car and fished out some money (no easy feat in a van packed to the gills and more than a wee bit messy). My daughter E. took great joy in going to the little church box and putting in the slot at the top. It was important to me that we support and encourage such a lovely ministry. It not only serves the surrounding community but nourishes travelling pilgrims like me as well. And offering a gift of gratitude was the perfect ending to our visit.



About Kristine OBrien

Kristine O'Brien is minister at Trafalgar, Oakville, Ont. She blogs at The Blooming Reverend. Subscribe to this blog.