If I asked 100 people what their 'earthly' image of heaven would be, I would undoubtedly get 100 different answers.
Some would want to see their furry friends there, others would say the ocean or beautiful music. For me, I think it would have to be flowers. Beautiful, lush; all varieties of flowers.
I can see the front porch with a huge bed of red flowers, (see picture below) around it. Mom called them firecrackers or mint plants, because they bloomed around the 4th of July and smelled like mint, I guess.
Mom's delphiniums were very tall and the rows of gladiolas were beautiful. When she and Dad moved to Fort Wayne and she had a large yard but not acres, she still had lots of flowers. She brought many varieties with her after digging some 'starts' up from her country garden. I think the flowers were the hardest thing for her to leave behind when they moved
I remember reading about the families who went West in covered wagons. Many times, the rose bushes were dug up and the roots wrapped in wet burlap so they would hopefully, survive until the family reached their destination.
My sister is a very talented "flower lady." She would laugh if she read that, but when they lived in Illinois, on a large corner lot, people would purposely walk by her yard to enjoy her seemingly endless variety of beautiful flowers. They lived there for forty-plus years and she was always adding new species. Two years ago, they moved to a different house and like my mother, I think for my sister, her flowers were the hardest thing to leave behind.
So, back to my original premise about heaven. For me, when I enter Stuckey's Greenhouse, on Tyler Avenue in Fort Wayne, which is close to my house, I feel like I have entered my earthly version of what heaven must be like. The colors, the smells, the luxuriant green foliage is overwhelming to me (in a good way). Of course, I want to purchase one or two of everything, but since that is impossible, I just walk up and down the aisles and inhale the beauty.
NOTE: Stuckey's Greenhouses were kind enough to let us photograph their blooms for the book. I, nor my sister, own stock in Stuckey's nor are we related to the family in any way. There was no payment involved in my mention of their business.