John W Nichols

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Who is John?

I grew up with the name, John Wayne Nichols. What a moniker! My parents were big fans of The Duke though I never acquired his cool nickname until late in college. My brothers and childhood friends figured out that Nichols sounds like pickles, and I became John Wayne Pickle Brain. That stuck. It also stunk, but what could I do about it?

I’m happily married to my best friend, Shawn, and have enjoyed that state of affairs for more than thirty-six years. We have two daughters, Amanda and Michelle. Amanda is married to Daniel, and they have given us a lovely granddaughter, Fern. Michelle has a steady fellow, Robert, and their future is ripe with potential and possibilities.

Call me what you will, but know one thing. I love gardening. I can’t thoroughly explain that statement, but I can offer a list of some things about gardening that rev my motor.

  • Plants in general.
  • The look of a well-tended plot.
  • The smell of healthy dirt.
  • Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees sampling the blossoms.
  • The privilege of participating in the miracle of growth.
  • The endless beauty of creation.
  • The flowing stream of new things to learn and try.

In the garden I have some degree of control. I can’t fix Washington, but I can choose what to plant, move, compost, trim, and divide. I can design, install, and enjoy a garden in every step from preparing the soil to sitting on the bench soaking up the ambiance.

I do some of my best thinking in the garden or the woods. The solutions to many of the problems I resolved during my thirty-two year engineering career originated while I was busy digging, weeding, watering, or hiking. Now, as a writer, the garden gives me an unhurried break from the urgency of deadlines.

In recent years I’m taking my gardening practice to new levels as I uncover the meaning of the term stewardship. Gardening challenges me to discover and experiment. I’ve learned techniques for reducing water usage. I’ve made a shift away from dependence on chemicals as much as possible. And I’ve adopted a permaculture philosophy with its focus on four-season gardening

What is your garden design philosophy?

My personal gardening design theme is simple. As my wife peers out any window of our home and as she gazes in any direction while walking the property, I want her to see a botanical display. Sure, I can send flowers a couple times each year but how much better for her to enjoy a year-round demonstration of my affection. And given that we love being together our time in the garden is an investment in our relationship.

We live on a quarter-acre lot measured from the center of the street and have neighbors at all levels of lawn motivation surrounding us. Houses sit a mere ten feet from the adjacent property line. The homeowners association disallows plantings of any fruit or vegetables forward of the rear setback of the house. All these parameters add up to significant challenges for a gardener, but determined gardeners never quit.

Why a new garden site?

I am a believer in Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God. His purpose in coming to this earth was to take my place and pay the debt for my sins, something I could never do on my own. Jesus suffered crucifixion at the hands of the Romans, was buried, and rose again the third day to return to His Father. Someday I’ll be with Him forever. The more I learn about the teachings of the Bible the more I see Christ at work around me. The more I observe nature and the design of this world the more reasons I find to praise Him. God’s primary media for revelation are His written Word and His creation that surrounds us all. All I have to do is cultivate a desire to learn.

GodPlantedAGarden is the mechanism for me to tie my faith to gardening and share both with readers who have an interest. My faith flavors the content of the site since I cannot separate my beliefs from my experiences. A relationship with Jesus is a daily endeavor, not something to pull out on Sunday morning for an hour or two. This site is not intended to offend, but if articles that promote creation, the teachings of the Bible, and the worship of God do give offense then please surf on. The web is filled with gardening sites of other flavors.

Explain your tagline. Isn’t that presumptuous?

Meeting God in the garden seems an appropriate tagline as it captures my intended purpose for the research and writing needed to support the site. In the Genesis record we learn that Adam, the first man, was placed in a beautiful garden with a mandate to care for the plot.

Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
Genesis 2:15

Adam enjoyed daily fellowship with God until sin destroyed the relationship.

They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8

The overarching message of the Bible is God’s plan to redeem mankind and restore the relationship. That restoration came via the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus. Because of Jesus a man can enjoy fellowship with God. In my life the garden is a sacred place where I commune with God. In the quiet. Marveling at His creation. Praising Him for who He is and what He’s about.

Won’t you join me? Let’s meet together with God in the garden.