Garden Ministry

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.

To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”
– Alfred Austin

In the Spring of 2016 known NMCC private gardeners were invited to adopt, design, plant and care for one of the many Church grounds.  Today, we have 8 gardens and a special tree, Steve, with its own story for Circle Nursery School.

Circle Nursery School shares the joy our gardens bring to both staff and students.  Both Staff and students enjoy the plants growing in the gardens.  Steve is the biggest player for the 3’s and 4’s classes.  The 5’s have enjoyed checking out the vegetable garden in the upper parking lot in early September and also the tall grasses that are planted on the embankment behind the building. All three classes take regular nature walks around the church property, so they enjoy whatever is blooming then.

Hosta Garden

Hosta Garden – filled with many varieties of many shapes, sizes and colors of hostas that spill down to the parking lot, the center of the garden features spectacular flowering kousa dogwood tree that blooms next to Steve, its neighbor!

Serenity Garden

Serenity Garden – this garden has been transformed to a  peaceful place to sit on the bench to pray or enjoy the many perennials:  Lenten roses, Christmas ferns, Solomon seal and Bethlehem sage (pulmonaria).   Others include astilbes and brunnera for color and hostas that  complement the collection in the Hosta Garden.

Betty Gutt Garden

Betty Gutt Garden – this garden  started off as the “purple garden”, which sits under the purple martin bird house.  But after we lost our beloved Betty Gutt, we have since honored her with first adding a hydrangea and have been adding peonies and day lilies from her gardens she maintained at her home.

Harvest Dinner Herb Garden

Harvest Dinner Herb Garden – If you love our Harvest Dinner stuffing, you may not know that we grow some of our own fresh herbs in this garden.  In addition to oregano, sage and lavender, the shasta daisies bloom freely in the summer. The trellis in the back holds a native, fall-blooming clematis; check out the swarm of pollinators that enjoy it in September. A cotoneaster sprawls along the rock wall, with pretty pink flowers in spring and bright red berries in the fall. The rose-of-Sharon came with the garden and is being re-trained but provides lovely color during the dog days of August.

Rose Garden

Rock Garden – The rock garden literally started as a pile of rocks blasted out during the expansion of the church in the 1990s(?). This garden hosts spring bulbs, daylilies and iris with more additions planned and will provide a beautiful view out Pastor Heather’s window when in bloom.

Rose Garden – easy to see when they are in bloom, these beautiful welcoming roses have found the perfect spot on the sunny side of our sanctuary next to the doors.

Circle Nursery Garden



Circle Nursery Garden – anchored by the Circle Nursery sign at the entrance to the school, this garden features hostas and colorful red astilbes.





Steve the Star Magnolia – Our star magnolia was named by the Circle Nursery community and welcomes spring with his glorious bloom in April.  Steve is not only enjoyed by our NMCC community, but is celebrated by our kids who learn about Steve’s pods, and there great cheering and clapping when Steve blooms and later in the Spring, magic happens when the petals begin to fall.

Vegetable Patch – located in the upper parking lot, the vegetable garden has been tended by NMCC gardeners for years.  It is filled with vegetables from May to September including multiple varieties of lettuce, which is harvested beginning in June for 4 to 5 weeks.  The lettuce is washed and packaged before donating to the Madison Food Pantry; in 2020 over 200 bags (gallon) of lettuce were donated. After harvesting the lettuce, summer crops of eggplants, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and green beans are grown and donated to the food pantry through September.

Other gardens are being restored and will be named and celebrated.  For example, the tall grasses enjoyed by CNS students also features a stunning pink crabapple tree on the hill and a yellow magnolia (with pink flowers sprouting up from the original roots!) that was planted in honor of Gail Faithfull for her work with the Missions Committee.   The garden around the front NMCC sign has been cleared of invasive species and is being populated with transplanted perennials.