Mary Gardens

A Mary garden is a medieval practice that is being revived in many places.  Just a little research on the internet will yield several lists of flowers and their medieval name and/or religious meaning, and I even found complete garden layout plans which is pretty nice for a terrible gardener like myself.  (Concepts like tall stuff in the back never quite work out for me.  It all looks the same in those 4 inch pots. J)

Big or tiny, all Mary Gardens have a few things in common besides assigning religious meanings to the plants.

  1. Quite often there will be a religious statue, picture, or symbol nearby.  It’s not essential, but it does give a focus to the garden.
  2. It is a place of peace and beauty that can easily lead to prayer.
  3. The sacramental nature of it all can lead to a greater love for receiving the sacraments.  Increasing the amount of beauty in your life almost always leads to a greater love for the Source of all true Beauty!

Below are a few easily available suggestions, along with their traditional meanings, that can help get you started:

  • Bleeding Heart – Mary’s heart
  • Marigold – Mary’s Gold
  • Pansy – Trinity flower (named for it’s three colored blossoms)
  • Rose – Mary is known as the Mystical Rose
  • Morning Glory – Our Lady’s Mantle
  • Lady Slipper – Our Lady’s Slipper
  • Lilies – symbols of purity
  • Violets – associated with humility and became known as Our Lady’s Modesty
  • Lily of the Valley – known as Mary’s Tears
  • Poppy – Christ’s Blood
  • Snapdragons – Infant Jesus’ Shoes

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