A Marian Garden Made in Heaven


CaptureAs a new Catholic, I’m enjoying my ‘nesting phase’—filling my home with reminders of my Christian faith.  As a Protestant, I didn’t have much of anything to look at that directed my eyes and thoughts heavenward.  I didn’t think it mattered.

Now, all of that is changing.  I’ve fully embraced the Catholic belief that it’s a good thing to use all of your senses in an everyday life of Faith,  just as all of the senses are engaged in Catholic worship.  I wanted to fill my home with elements of what I experienced at Mass.  I bought a crucifix and a Mary statue.  I found some sacred music that I liked.  I left illustrated prayer books out on an end table, and placed a Jesus icon next to a candle on my bookshelf.  I put a rosary in every room as a reminder to pray.  I didn’t pack up my nativity scene when Christmas ended.  Simple things.  Bit by bit, piece by piece, my home is starting to look like a Christian lives there.  I love that.

This nesting phase gradually moved outdoors.  I’m certainly not an avid gardener like my mother, but I do like my outdoor spaces to be pleasant and inviting . . . a nice place outside to rest, and to read or pray from time to time.  There is just something about a soft breeze or a starry night that allows the senses to move the soul heavenward.

I thought I would encourage this effect even more by creating my own Marian garden, that is, surrounding a beautiful outdoor Mary statuewith lots of beautiful garden plants.  (I certainly couldn’t buy an outdoor Mary statue and leave her without any adornment!).  I got some inspiration from the gorgeous Catholic garden at my parish—overgrown flowerbeds sprinkled with a Jesus statue, a Mary statue, and a St. Francis statue.  Then I sat down to do some research on Mary gardens.

Little did I know that in addition to having a Mary garden statue, I could also choose plants for my Marian garden that had rich Catholic significance.  Mary GardenI discovered that during medieval times, thousands of plants and flowers were originally named after the Christian faith.  Who knew there was such a thing as Catholic plants?  Today, most of these names have been lost and replaced with other common names.  For example, bougainvilleas were once called ‘Trinitaria’ because their flowers emerge as a single three-leaf cluster.  Many plants were specifically Marian.  Begonias were known as ‘Heart of Mary’ due to their heart-shaped leaves, and baby’s breath was once called ‘Mary’s Veil’ because of its intricate, delicate white flowers.  A few names have remained in common usage, however, such as marigold (‘Mary’s Gold’) and lady slippers (‘Our Lady’s Slippers’).  I could choose from any number of these Marian garden plants to adorn my Mary statue.  With all of the variety, there was no end to the thought and creativity I could put into making my Catholic garden a special place for my home.

I was excited to also discover that my Mary Garden had already started without my realizing it.  I had a huge rosemary bush growing against the fence, and my mother had recently given me a hosta, once called an  ‘Assumption Lily’.  I was amazed when I first caught on to the reason for the name.  The plant stayed low and hugged the ground with pretty, wide green leaves.  I thought it would stay that way.  Then a tall, thin stalk emerged, eventually blooming into a spectacularly beautiful purple flower.  Ah . . . Assumption Lily . . got it!  That’s Mary all the way. Funny how the medievals knew that many simple things can be used to teach the Faith, even plants (like St. Patrick and the shamrock), something long forgotten in our day. I was pleased to already have such a meaningful plant in my Marian garden.

I also already had tons of begonias flowering big and full.  It looked like my Marian garden was all set.  I just needed a few Catholic garden items to sprinkle around, and, of course, a beautiful Mary garden statue to tie it all together.  And maybe an outdoor St. Francis statue too, since I’m also a big wildlife lover.  I added a birdfeeder and a garden cross as well.  Now my Marian garden is looking beautiful (and very Catholic!), waiting to encourage me to spontaneous prayer.

*Photos from The Catholic Company’s 2012 Catholic Garden Photo Contest.

About Gretchen

Gretchen is a recent convert and completely in love with the Catholic faith. She is very active in her parish and has recently joined the Lay Dominicans. She has special interests in theology, Thomistic philosophy, & politics. She holds an M.A. in Christian Apologetics & currently works on copywriting and social media for The Catholic Company.
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10 Responses to A Marian Garden Made in Heaven

  1. BaltGal says:

    I love this article! If we ever move up and out of our condo to a home with a yard, I would like to do the very same thing. The stock photo looks like a statue of St. Therese of Lisieux, however. Do others agree? She’s known as “The Little Flower” and is said to shower down roses to those who ask her intercession, so it would still make sense to have her in your garden!

  2. Gretchen says:

    Thank you! You don’t have to wait until you have a yard, you can create a Mary Garden right where you are! Check out our Catholic Company Marian Garden Pinterest board http://pinterest.com/catholiccompany/marian-garden/. I put a pin up just for you! It has photos & ideas for creating gardens in small spaces. We also have lots of Catholic outdoor figurines http://www.catholiccompany.com/garden-statues-c2796/ that will look great in small spaces. And you may be right about St. Therese of Lisieux, this is actually a photo I took at my parish–I mentioned I drew my inspiration from the beautiful Catholic gardens there. I’ll be pinning photos of my own Marian Garden on the above Pinterest board in the coming weeks.

  3. Kimberly says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your garden and the transformation of your home! I have experienced the same feelings and have been moving in the same direction. We just found a St. Pio statue and have added this to our backyard. God bless.

  4. Gretchen says:

    Thank you, Kimberly! I’m glad you like it. We have so many wonderful reminders of our Catholic faith, from saints to prayers to sacramentals. Having these in my home has really been a blessing for me–even if my family thinks I’m crazy when they come to visit! :) Great find on the Padre Pio statue. I think he officially qualifies as a super saint.

  5. Carey says:

    So, so happy to find your blog! I am a “born + raised” Catholic, but I love your fresh perspective on Catholicism. I have found that many of my “cradle-to-grave” Catholic friends are so cynical when I try to discuss our Faith. I’ve looked all over the internet trying to find a modern, fresh perspective on practicing this beautiful religion, and yours is the first blog that really speaks to me! Thank you so much.

  6. Gretchen says:

    Wow Carey, thank you! What a great compliment. I love being useful. :) God Bless!

  7. Charles H. Miranda says:

    ========================================
    In That Beautiful Garden In Heaven.
    ========================================

    I Had A Beautiful
    Dream;

    Of Dreaming Of
    You,

    I Dreamt Of Seeing
    You Once Again;

    And What You Were
    Seeing Too,

    There Were Beautiful
    Flowers All Around;

    In That Beautiful
    Garden Up There In
    Heaven.

    I Had A Beautiful
    Dream,

    Of Dreaming Of
    You;

    I Dreamt Of Walking
    And Talking With
    You Once Again,

    In That Beautiful
    Garden Up There In
    Heaven.

    I Had A Beautiful
    Dream;

    Of Dreaming Of
    You,

    I Dreamt Of Seeing
    Your Beautiful And
    Lovely Smile Once
    Again;

    And There Were
    Beautiful Butterflies
    And Humming Birds
    All Around,

    In That Beautiful
    Garden Up There In
    Heaven.

    I Had A Beautiful
    Dream;

    Of Dreaming Of
    You,

    I Dreamt Of Seeing
    You Once Again;

    And Watching That
    Beautiful And Lovely
    Rainbow With You,

    In That Beautiful
    Garden Up There In
    Heaven.

    I Can Only Imagine
    In My Beautiful
    Dreams At Night;

    Of Seeing You Once
    Again,

    In That Beautiful
    Garden Up There In
    Heaven;

    Where We Will Meet
    Our Loved One’s
    Once Again Someday,

    In That Beautiful
    Garden In Heaven.

    ========================================

    DO A WEB SEARCH ON:
    charles h. miranda
    OR:
    charlesthepoet2003
    OR:
    charlesthepoet2004
    Thanks.
    ————————–

  8. Charles H. Miranda says:

    ==============================================
    To My Mommy And Daddy.
    ==============================================

    Mommy And Daddy Don’t You Cry
    Any More For Me;

    Be Happy For Me Your Loving
    Daughter,

    Cause My Sweet And Dear Guardian
    Angel Had Came To Take My Little
    Hands Mommy And Daddy;

    She’s So Pretty And Her Smile Is
    So Beautifully And She Glows
    So Brightly Like A Light,

    There Were More Beautiful Lovely
    Angels All Around Me Mommy And
    Daddy;

    They Were Singing Me Home To
    Heaven With Such Beautiful Songs,

    The Angels Illuminated The Night
    Sky;

    As My Sweet And Dear Guardian
    Angel Had Taken Hold Of My Little
    Hands,

    To Take Me To Heaven To Be With
    Jesus.

    I Thank You Mommy And Daddy For
    All Of Your Hugs And Kisses And
    For All Of Your Love;

    So Mommy And Daddy Don’t You Cry
    Any More For Me,

    Be Happy For Me Your Loving
    Daughter Always.

    ==============================================

    DO A WEB SEARCH ON:
    charles h. miranda
    OR:
    charlesthepoet2003
    OR:
    charlesthepoet2004
    Thanks.
    ————————-

  9. Charles H. Miranda says:

    ==============================================
    Your Love Will Always Be In My Heart.
    ==============================================

    I’ll Cling On To Your Love
    In My Heart;

    I Won’t Let Go Of Your Love
    In My Heart,

    Your Love Will Remain In
    My Heart Forever;

    I’ll Hold On To Your Love
    So Tightly As Though It
    Was Made Of Pure Gold,

    Your Love Will Always Be
    My Treasure;

    I’ll Seal Up Your Love
    In My Heart,

    I’ll Cherish Your Love
    In My Heart Forever;

    Your Love Will Always Be
    My Keepsake In My Heart,

    Not Even Death Itself Can
    Separate Your Love In
    My Heart;

    And I Won’t Let Your Love
    Wither Or Fade Away In
    My Heart,

    Your Love Will Always Linger
    On And On In My Heart;

    Your Love Will Always Be In
    My Heart Forever.

    ==============================================

    DO A WEB SEARCH ON:
    charles h. miranda
    OR:
    charlesthepoet2003
    OR:
    charlesthepoet2004
    Thanks.
    ————————-

  10. Charles H. Miranda says:

    ==============================================
    A Messenger Of God.
    ==============================================

    I’m Only But A Simple Humble
    Messenger Of God;

    God Has Entrusted Me To
    Handle His Messages Safely,

    With Such Tender Loving Care
    Straight To Your Heart;

    God Wants To Speak Directly
    To Your Dear Heart,

    He Wants To Tell You Himself;

    Of How Much He Really And
    Truly Loves You Dearly
    Through His Messages,

    Find Out For Yourself What
    God Wants To Say To Your
    Dear Heart;

    Read The Holy Bible,

    And Listen To His Gentle
    Voice Whispering To Your
    Dear Heart;

    I’m Only But A Simple Humble
    Messenger Of God.

    ==============================================

    DO A WEB SEARCH ON:
    charles h. miranda
    OR:
    charlesthepoet2003
    OR:
    charlesthepoet2004
    Thanks.
    ————————

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