How to Plant a Mary Garden

Spring has come at last! It is time to plant and tend a garden. Mary Gardens, gardens dedicated to our Blessed Mother, have been gaining popularity in recent years.

Many flowers and plants are associated with our Blessed Mother and various aspects of her life. These traditions hearken back to the Middle Ages, when religious devotion permeated almost every aspect of life. Some flowers are associated with Mary simply by virtue of their names. Others feature legends used as one means to instruct others about Jesus and Mary. It was one more way to teach the Gospel stories during a time when books and reading were not widespread.

While we may not need the stories about these flowers to teach us, we can nevertheless create a place of prayer and devotion by planting a garden with the intention of honoring Mary. Such a garden may be a lavish outdoor space or some simple indoor plantings. A Mary Garden also usually contains a statue or image of Mary.

This list of flowers and their meanings may help you get started:
Rose – Roses have been associated with Mary since the earliest days. They are a symbol of her glory and sorrow. Roses are often known as the queen of flowers. As such, they are also a sign of Mary’s queenship of heaven.

Lily of the Valley – Mary’s Tears – Legend holds that when Mary wept at the foot of the cross, her tears fell to the ground and these flowers blossomed. With its pure white flowers, it has also been associated with her Immaculate Conception.

Ox-Eye Daisy – Mary’s Star – This flower is associated with the Star of Bethlehem which led the Magi to the Christ child.

Fleur-de-lis – Yellow flag iris – A symbol of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary to ask her to be the mother of God’s son.

Chrysanthemum – All Saint’s Flower – This flower is believed to have been present when Christ was laid in the tomb.

Snowdrop – Candlemas Bells – These are said to have bloomed at Candlemas, when Mary brought Jesus to the temple for his presentation.

Gladiolus – the name of this flower comes from the Latin word for “sword” and stands for the sword that would pierce Mary’s heart.

Violet – a symbol of Mary’s constancy, humility, and innocence

Marigold – Mary’s Gold – a symbol of Mary’s simplicity and domesticity. Sometimes also associated with her sorrows.

Carnations – their name reminds one of the Incarnation of Christ. They also are a symbol of the Crucifixion.

For more information on flowers and herbs associated with Mary, please visit:


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