Father Eugene Hemrick

In viewing the exhibit, “Food for Thought,” at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., I felt the need to become a botanist; a more inspiring vocation for appreciating God’s blessings you could not desire!

In front of plants on display in the garden’s educational exhibit one finds posted lessons on their value. For example, “Lovely Leafy” states, “There are so many delicious leafy greens to enjoy, from mixed baby lettuce greens and arugula to spinach, Swiss chard and kale. There are two main groups of leafy greens, lettuces and nonlettuces. Both are incredibly healthy thanks to their high fiber and vitamin and mineral content.”

In reading this I could hear my mother saying, “Eat your vegetables, they are filled with vitamins!” reminding me they bless us with healthy nutrition.

The lesson on dandelions also brought home fond memories. “The dandelion, though a pesky lawn weed, has found favor for lesser known attributes. Cultivated forms make a healthful ‘bitter green.'” The flowers can be made into dandelion wine, and the roots — like those of its cousin chicory — can be made into a coffee substitute.”

I often picked dandelion greens that were then mixed with lettuce, making for a tasty salad. What made the salad especially tasty was vinegar wine resulting from our homemade Italian wine that had gone sour.

If you picked “tons” of dandelions, pressed out their juices and fermented them, the result was delicious wine, which, interestingly, in the psalms is a sign of God’s life par excellence.

Having my own garden, I was interested in learning that if it is planned properly, it can bless us well into autumn with vegetables. The lesson read, “Being inundated with a summer crop can be an issue with vegetable gardening. But with a little planning, you can harvest fresh veggies throughout the seasons. Determine the first and last planting dates for your region and the number of days until harvest. Then plant varieties with varying maturity or stagger plantings.”

When we think of God’s blessings, we seldom include insects in them. On the topic of “Peckish Pollinators” we learn, “The dance between plants and their pollinator partners is intricately choreographed by millennia of coevolution. … Pollinators help the plant to reproduce and achieve greater genetic dispersal.”

Without the blessing of these pesky insects, much of our life-giving food wouldn’t exist. The elaborate world of plant life is awesome and the more we learn about it, the more awesome God becomes to us.