Monday 27 September 2010

One is nearer to God's heart in a garden . . .

I want to show you someplace new this morning. It is called the Cathedral of the Trees, and lays on a highland Estate in Glencruitten, Scotland. Although I have never been there myself, it is a place that I have always wanted to go.

Moved in his heart by the quotation . . . "One is nearer to God's heart in a garden . . . only God can make a tree.", it was the dream of a man named Alexander Mackay back in the early 1920's.

He chose a spot on the side of a hill on his Highland Estate at Glencruitten, Scotland. Realizing that this might be his last great spiritual act in this incarnation, he decided to spend all of his life's savings and give to future posterity something that would symbolize the spirituality of the soul in meditation, the principles of universal brotherhood and love, and the symbolism of the Cross. He therefore sent to various parts of the Continent and also to America for rare trees and shrubs, and engaged artists, artisans and landscape experts to assist him.

The outline of the cathedral is marked by a double wall of chestnut and lime trees. The entrance is formed by two evergreens, trimmed in the shape of an archway. The pillars are of yew, the altar is clothed in cotoneaster, and above it stands a golden yew, clipped to form a cross. In the place of paving,the floor is carpeted with different types of heath in a mosaic design, with pink, yellow, white and purple blooms . . . and instead of stained glass windows there are trees with foliage of purple, crimson, copper and every shade of green.

Mr Mackay began to plant the cathedral in 1892, knowing full well that he would never see it completed, for he was already an elderly man and it would take around fifty years for the trees to grow to maturity and reveal the cathedral of his dreams in all it's splendour. Today the trees will have attained a height of fifty feet or more, causing this cathedral on the hillside to stand out above everything else in its vicinity.

Oh . . . how I long to see it and be able to meditate amongst the trees . . .

I found a description of sorts written by someone who had been there online that I would love to share with you in part:

"On a spring morning, while the dew remained, the snares of spiders hung with extreme craftiness between the borders, and on every strand of the spiderwebs were beads of dew. Through the trees representing the East Window of this Cathedral, the sun came up through the mists into the clear blue. Soon its magnetic power had gained mastery and had drunk away the dew. Then seemed to be the appointed time for the emergence of many dragon-flies and butterflies. As the air became more heated, the brimstone butterfly--newborn and speckless--fluttered over the hedge and the daffodil-colored wings conjured a vision of spring. It was not long before the butterflies--blues, small heaths and small coppers--brought a charming animation to this enchanted place. The finest of the dragon-flies is not more splendid than the butterfly fresh from the chrysalis. This Cathedral of trees has provided a sanctuary and the comfort of a home for birds and myriads of creatures."

Oh, it does sound a beautiful place . . . and to think . . . it started as only as a man's dream . . .

Sorry if I caused some of you to worry yesterday through my absence. I could not get online in the morning and by the time Todd got up and got it all sorted it was time for me to get ready for church! We had our Primary Presentation yesterday, which went very well. They usually do. The children always put forth their best efforts and all the high jinx that are present in the rehearsals seem to disappear on the day!

I baked them some lovely cupcakes for afters to help them celebrate all their hard work! They went down a real treat. They are very easy to make, using a cake mix, and very impressive when done. Of course you can use your own cupcake recipe to make these instead of a mix, following your own instructions and then proceeding as per this recipe to bake them. The kids just loved them! They would make great Birthday Party favours as well!

*Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes*
makes 24
Printable Recipe

This is really a no brainer, but really cute when done. Kids love them.

1 boxed cake mix, plus ingredients listed on the box to make up
24 flat bottomed ice cream cones
vanilla buttercream frosting
sprinkles to decorate

(ready to go in the oven)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper liner. Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. (I made a white cake and then stirred in 1 heaped TBS of nonpareil decorations to give some rainbow colours) Fill each paper cup 1/3 full. Place an ice cream cone upside down on top of the batter in each cup.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. (The cones may tilt a bit on the batter when baking, but that's ok.) Remove from the oven when done and cool completely.

Remove the paper baking cups very carefully. Generously frost the cake tops on the cones with the buttercream and decorate as desired.

Over in The English Kitchen today, delicious Pork Cutlets with a Port and Cherry Pan Sauce!


  1. Hello Dear Marie,
    You are up bright and early. I am always happy when I find a new post from you has popped up just before I am ready to turn off the computer and go to bed.
    It would be lovely to visit the Cathedral of trees you showed us today in this post. How kind of Mr. Mackay to have fore sight to design and plant such a garden for our enjoyment even though he knew he would never see it in this life. Well, I am sure that he is looking down from heaven and enjoying his garden cathedral from his lofty view.

    It was lovely visiting with you today. You are a very precious friend to me. My spirit is always lifted when I can hear your voice and chat a while. I am thankful that modern phone service makes that possible.

    I am sure that your primary program went well.... knowing that you were in charge makes that a given.
    The children must have loved the cupcakes. I tried to make them a couple of times but I just put the cake mix in the cone and not the cone upside down on the cake mix. My cakes did not rise up above the cone as nicely as yours did. Now I will know how to do it correctly and I am sure they will turn out much cuter. Thanks for the idea.

    I was saddened to learn Angie is in the hospital. I will surely pray for her and wish her a speedy recovery.

    Have a great week my friend. My love is with you. Hugs, Lura

  2. The photo's are very beautiful Marie :) They are pictures that make me wish I were there. Very peaceful. Love you ((((Hugs))))

  3. Glad you and Todd are ok. !!
    I have never heard of that wonderful estate, Marie and I'm from Scotland !! I must look it up and see where it is, it looks so beautiful.
    Love Sybil xx

  4. I have my little camper placed right in the middle of trees on a hill side and it is just beautiful being there with nature all around. It isn't grand like the place you described but I do love it so. I used to make ice cream cone cupcakes often for my children when they were growing up. I'd pour the cake batter right into the cone and bake it like that then frost them. I think I'll have to make some soon for the grand children. I hope your Monday is a Happy one!

  5. I loved the 3rd and 4th pictures..I would love to go for a walk there! The cupcakes look very fun and yummy! :D

  6. Such beautiful garden pictures....just gives one such a peaceful feeling. So glad all is well with you and Todd! Have a wonderful week.

  7. Beautiful photos! Love the Cathedral -- what a lovely legacy Mr. Mackay left. Love those precious cupcakes -- how darling -- thanks for your visit too!


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