Monday, June 24, 2013

Building Your Own Mary Garden

Just as a fashion-challenged person may have a penchant for clothing, I love gardens. I love the smell of damp soil, the colors of various flowers all bunched together in an eclectic bouquet, and the cycle of life that takes place on a tiny plot of earth. Unfortunately, the bamboo and poinsettia on my kitchen counter top are the only survivors of a lifetime of trial and murder error.

It's long been an ambition of mine to create an area in my backyard conducive to meditation* and prayer. We had to install fake grass to combat a carpet of dirt that had us bathing our dog every week, but a grouping of pots around a statue of Mary installed by the backyard swing would serve my purpose.  A Mary garden is a tradition that was first recorded in the 7th Century, and I think I might be able to pull it off.

Typically, the plants included in the Mary garden are representative of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but I think that any beautiful plants would do, if your intent is to honor her as the Mother of God.  Quite often, you'll find a statue of Mary or angels in the center.  Here are some sample plants.

The Bachelor's Button represents Mary's Crown

The Bleeding Heart represents Mary's Sorrowful Heart.

Imprints of the Crown Daisy are found on the Shroud of Turin, which indicates they were laid over Jesus shroud in his burial tomb.
Photo courtesy of seedsshop

For an expanded list of flower names and an explanation of what they represent, go to this link.

Here is an example of a complete (though ambitios) Mary Garden from the University of Dayton in Massachusetts.

If you have a green thumb, you may want to try your hand at growing your garden from scratch.  The seedsshop on Etsy has seeds that are chemical- and GMO-free, and until June 30th, there's a coupon code for free shipping on the site!  (No, I'm not related to the owners, nor have they stuffed my pockets with cash to mention their store.)

I'll be sure to post a picture of the finished product when I get mine done. Warning: I have a brown thumb, so it might take a while!

* And now a quick word on Christian meditation. You do NOT want to empty your mind of all thoughts. Nature abhors a vacuum, and if you empty your mind out, something will be happy to fill it for you. Christian meditation fills the mind with God.

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