Story Behind the Song

Woke up this morning with Joey and Rory on my mind. After my morning prayer which included this couple, I ended up listening to their music.

One of the songs I love to hear them sing is the hymn, “In The Garden.”

I learned a few things from Wikipedia about the hymn. Did you know?

“In the Garden” (sometimes rendered by its first line “I Come to the Garden Alone”[citation needed]) is a gospel song written by American songwriter C. Austin Miles (1868–1946), a former pharmacist who served as editor and manager at Hall-Mack publishers for 37 years. According to Miles’ great-granddaughter, the song was written “in a cold, dreary and leaky basement in New Jersey that didn’t even have a window in it let alone a view of a garden.”[1] The song was first published in 1912 and popularized during the Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns of the early twentieth century by two members of his staff, Homer Rodeheaver and Virginia Asher.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans recorded the song with vocal quartet and orchestra on March 3, 1950.[2] Tennessee Ernie Ford performed the song on his 1956 platinum album Hymns. A June 18, 1958 recording by Perry Como was part of his album When You Come to the End of the Day.[3] It is also used in juxtaposition to “Blue Tail Fly” near the beginning of the Merchant Ivory film The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. The book of poetry Tea by D. A. Powell also refers to the song. Doris Day recorded the song on her 1962 album You’ll Never Walk Alone. Elvis Presley recorded the song on his gospel album How Great Thou Art (1967). Willie Nelson recorded the song on his 1976 gospel album The Troublemaker.[4] The gospel song is sung in the closing scene of the film Places in the Heart (1984) and by Ronee Blakley in the Robert Altman film Nashville (1975).

The song is included on Johnny Cash’s 5-CD box set Cash Unearthed, released posthumously in November, 2003,[5] and featured on disc 4, My Mother’s Hymn Book. This collection of gospel songs was released as a stand-alone disc six months later.

Words from “In the Garden” are inscribed on a bench at the grave of Earl Kemp Long in Winnfield, Louisiana. It was Long’s favorite hymn.


I love to hear Joey sing this song. Continue to pray for this family as they deal daily with  Joey’s cancer.

Vonda Easley