In The Garden: Create a Marian Garden

   It’s May and the world is in bloom! I love this time of year. May is also ‘the month of Mary” to many, and so it only seems fitting that it is the perfect time to start a Marian Garden.
   What is a Marian Garden, you ask? Well– it can be whatever you’d like it to be. It can be a place to beautify your surroundings, a corner for meditation or prayer, a project and conversation starter for your kids, or all of the above.

   Although I’ve had this terra cotta Mary for a few years now (I got it at an estate sale, its chipped and pieces are broken off of it, but I love it!) but this is the first time I made an intentional “Marian Garden” corner in my herb bed. She stands watch in a corner that I’ve planted with Rosemary and Marigolds, among other things (basil! lots of basil! Surely the Blessed Virgin can appreciate my love of pesto and bruschetta!) 
  The basics of creating your own Marian Garden are pretty simple. You can feature a statue of Mary and/or plant a gathering of flowers whose traditional names have some sort of Biblical or Marian reference. MARIgolds….roseMARY….you get it 😉 
   When I started researching plants to use in Marian Gardens, I found that I already had many plants with an old name that was a Biblical reference. Even my herbs nearby have sweet old names— Basil is “Holy Communion Plant” and the Thyme at Mary’s feet is “The Virgin’s Humility.”
   Instantly this little corner of my herb garden takes on a deeper and more lovely meaning— and I love knowing these old flower names. I can just imagine them in an old English cottage garden– many of these names go back as far as medieval times– and some of them even reference the time of year the plant grows or blooms– think Candlemas Bells, Michaelmas Daisy, and All Saints Flower.
   It’s been such fun to intentionally create this little garden, and also learn about these old fashioned flower names, which are often so lovely, sweet and evocative. 

Some other flowers that you might consider planting in your Marian Garden include:

Garden Flowers

Amaryllis: Beautiful Lady/St. Joseph’s Lily

Aster: Michaelmas Daisy

Baby’s Breath: Lady’s Veil

Begonia: Heart of Jesus/Heart of Mary

Black Eyed Susan: Golden Jerusalem

Bleeding Heart: Mary’s Heart

Calla Lily: St. Joseph’s Staff

Carnation: Mary’s Love of God

Chrysanthemum (mum): All Saint’s Flower

Clematis: Virgin’s Bower

Cosmos: St. Michael’s Flower

Daffodil: Mary’s Star

Easter Lily

Fern: Lady’s Hair

Forget-Me-Not: Mary’s Eyes

Ground Ivy: Madonna’s Herb

Holly (English Holly): Burning Bush

Hollyhock: St. Joseph’s Staff

Hydrangea: Ave Maria

Larkspur: Mary’s Tears

Lavender: Flight into Egypt

Marigold: Mary’s Gold

Morning Glory: Our Lady’s Mantle

Pansy: Trinity flower, Our Lady’s Delight

Periwinkle: Virgin Flower

Peony: Pentecost Rose

Poinsettia: Nativity Flower

Rose: Mary
         White: Mary’s Purity
           Red: Mary’s Sorrow and the Blood of Christ. Also martyrdom.
           Gold: Mary’s Glory
           Red and White: Visitation

Rose of Sharon

Scabiosa: Mary’s Pincushion

Snapdragon: Infant Jesus’ Shoes

Snowdrops: Candlemas Bells

Sweet Pea: Our Lady’s Flower, Mary’s Foot

Tulip: Mary’s Prayer

Violet: Our Lady’s Modesty

Water Lily: Lady-of-the-lake

Wisteria: Virgin’s Bower

Zennia: The Virgin, Little Mary, Church Flower

Parsley: Our Lady’s Little Vine

Sage: Mary’s Shawl

Rosemary: Mary’s Nosegay

Thyme: The Virgin’s Humility

Chives: Our Lady’s Garleek

Dill: Devil-Away

Sweet Bay: St. Brigid’s Flower

Basil: Holy Communion Plant

Marjoram: Mary’s Bedstraw

Spearmint: Mary’s Mint

Chicory: Heavenly Way

Catnip: Mary’s Nettle

St. John’s Wort

Dandelion: Mary’s Bitter Sorrow

Penny Royal: Lady’s Flavoring

     I hope this list gives you a good idea of flowers you can use for your Marian Garden, or show you the lovely cottage garden meaning of flowers you might already have! How wonderful to walk through your garden— or look at a bouquet or little arranged pot of flowers and find a deeper meaning in it.

   Wishing you a lovely month of May!~

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