Sunday, 30 March 2014

Let's Stroll Around Our Church Garden!

It's time for another nature walk with Elisa of Elisa Loves. Where are we going this week? We're off to visit our church's garden. And we won't need sunscreen. It's another grey day!

We have two churches in our (combined) parish, one in each of the two closest towns to our home. Both churches are very different. One is old and traditional, while the other is more modern. Today we're visiting the younger church. 

St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church stands close to the centre of town. But can you see the bush (native forest) in the background? Even in town the bush is never far away.

The church was built in 1986 and was dedicated on November 9th of that year. November 9th is also our son Thomas' birthday, and St Thomas Aquinas is Thomas' baptismal saint. I often ponder this connection. It seems to me that nothing ever happens by accident. For some reason this is 'our' church.

Generally, I'm not a fan of modern churches. In many of them the tabernacle has been pushed to one side, or even right out of the church and into a side chapel. Chairs have replaced pews. There are no stained glass windows or statues... But that's not the case in our church. It's very well designed, and in its own modern way, very beautiful. I also think we see beauty where there is love and friendship. The people themselves, together with God, give beauty to a building. Beauty does not always depend on the bricks and tiles.

On the roof is a dome that sits over the centre of the church. Sunshine spills through it onto the pews below. I often wonder who cleans the dome. It would be a very difficult job reaching up so high. Or perhaps there's 28 years' worth of dirt clinging to the glass. 

The outside stained glass windows are simple but there are others inside, depicting the stations of the cross. There's also a huge window above the altar. Another day I'll take you inside!

Today we're going to stroll around the garden...

... which surrounds the church on all sides. This is the front garden.

Could this be a maple tree? What do you think? It will soon be changing colour. There are a number of pretty flowers growing near it.

I can see raindrops on the petals of this flower. We've had a lot of rain recently, which is good for the land but bad for the washing.

I'm not sure what this tree is called.

Here's its leaves...

This one might be a Japanese maple. I used to know the names of lots of trees because I completed the better part of a horticulture course. But that was years ago and I have forgotten so much...

I know this plant. It's a camellia. A camellia hedge borders the church on two sides. It's magnificent. 

Nancy, is this another liquidamber or gum tree?

Berries for the birds...

Those might be rhododendron bushes by the church. I don't actually like this plant, but that might be because I spent a lot of time and effort digging rhododendrons out of the Welsh countryside as a conservation project, while I was at uni. 

 More raindrop petals.

And this might be lambs' ears. 

I take a few photos of leaves. I love the different shapes and textures and shades of green.

I spot this beautiful flower just as I decide I have enough photos.

Perhaps another day you can come with me to our other church. It's close to the lake we visited last week. It's one of the oldest buildings in town. And it has a garden!

Please join Elisa for her nature walk: A Rainy Nature Walk & Garden Notes It's now raining where Elisa lives, not snowing!


  1. Another wonderful visit! I must say, I've started to really look forward to your walks. Yes, that does look like a liquidamber tree to me. Ours still await this year's crop of leaves. What gorgeous photos, again!! I'm especially enamored of 'Berries for the birds.' Thank you!

    1. Nancy,

      Thank you for coming on my latest stroll with me. I didn't realise there are so many beautiful flowers and trees in our church garden, until I looked at them through my camera lens. I like the berries too!

  2. Beautiful! I love your close up photos with the blurry background...the colors are just so amazing. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Elisa,

      Thank you for looking at my photos. Your nature walk link ups are a great opportunity for me to practise my photography. Yes, the colours are beautiful. I also like the raindrops on the petals. I didn't notice them until I got in close!