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.
- 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.
- It is a place of peace and beauty that can easily lead to prayer.
- 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