The Growing Season


Latter-day Saint artists have captured the joy of gardening in artwork displayed over the years at the Museum of Church History and Art.

“Whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward” (D&C 6:33). Gardening teaches the gardener the law of the harvest, primarily that we reap what we sow and nurture. In October 1977 general conference, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that while a garden can be useful in “reducing food costs and making available delicious fresh fruits and vegetables,” it does much more than that:

“Who can gauge the value of that special chat between daughter and Dad as they weed or water the garden?” he said. “How do we evaluate the good that comes from the obvious lessons of planting, cultivating, and the eternal law of the harvest? And how do we measure the family togetherness and cooperating that must accompany successful canning? Yes, we are laying up resources in store, but perhaps the greater good is contained in the lessons of life we learn as we live providently” (“Welfare Services: The Gospel in Action,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 78; emphasis in original).

On these pages are examples of artwork from Latter-day Saint artists celebrating gardening and the law of the harvest.

Beauty All Around(click to view larger)

Marjorie Lamont, Beauty All Around, Italian mosaic tile, 1993, Salt Lake City, Utah. “Latter-day Saints are encouraged to garden. Vegetables nourish our bodies; flowers nourish our souls.”

Replanting Eden

Brad Aldridge, Replanting Eden, oil on panel, 1993, Provo, Utah. Man and woman labor in the world to beautify and make fruitful both the earth and their own souls. Brother Aldridge says, “The three trees represent the Godhead overseeing this process, while the three-leafed seedling the couple plants represents the implementation of the Godhead’s wishes into their lives.” Merit Award, Third International Art Competition.

Behold, the Fruit of My Labor Is Sweet(click to view larger)

Cheryl Morris, Behold, the Fruit of My Labor Is Sweet, wool on monk’s cloth, 1993, Bay Shore, New York. “This piece done in primitive hooked rug style symbolizes my experiences in the Young Women program. When a girl first enters Young Women, she comes with little experience (empty baskets). The orchard represents knowledge, and the fruit represents Young Women values. As Young Women leave the program, they should have baskets filled with enough fruit to share with others.” Purchase Award, Third International Art Competition.

Seeds Are His Promise(click to view larger)

Emma Allebes, Seeds Are His Promise, quilted wall hanging, 1993, Fair Oaks, California. “Years ago, when President Spencer W. Kimball admonished the members to plant gardens, my husband took this advice very seriously and has become a master gardener. He loves to grow fruits, vegetables, and beautiful flowers. This quilt is a tribute to him and to the Lord, for seeds are His promise.” Merit Award, Third International Art Competition.

Teach a Child

Martha R. Harding, Teach a Child, oil, 1990, Alpine, Utah. “Planting a garden with our children is one way to teach them to follow the counsel of our prophets.”

Life Is the Reward of Love and Labor

J. Leo Fairbanks (1878–1949), Life Is the Reward of Love and Labor, oil on canvas, about 1920. This mural sketch depicts how the values of the pioneer past provide role models for the present. The spring plowing, the blossoming fruit trees, and the young couple and small child living in the springtime of their lives portray a scene of hope and optimism rooted in a firm foundation of gospel values.

[illustration] Osral B. Allred, Fall Harvest, watercolor, 1986, Spring City, Utah. Joy comes as we gather the fruit of our labors. Through gardening, we learn the law of the harvest.