The grass is green and in need of yet another cutting. The weeds have announced their presence in the cracks of the back patio and amongst the iris. The little seedlings growing peacefully under the grow lamp in the kitchen are anxious to stretch out in the warm, moist soil.

I love spring! How perfect that we honor our dear Blessed Mother during a month of such mildness, such verdant possibility. It is a time to sow seeds, to plow and prepare the earth for new growth.

It’s time to plant a Mary Garden.

A Mary Garden is a wonderful tradition, a visual testimony to the love and honor that we offer to the Mother of our Lord. It needn’t be complicated nor fancy. It can be as simple as a small herb garden, with a little statue of the Blessed Virgin at its center, or it can be quite elaborate – employing the use of garden walkways, a “floral rosary” and comfortable seating. A sunflower grotto is a lovely idea, as well, and would make quite a backdrop for your favorite garden statue of our Lady, as well as providing a wonderfully peaceful place of meditation and prayer. Last year, desirous to spread the joy of the Mary Garden to my own dear mother, I sent her a lovely card complete with seed packets, the “Marian” names for all of the plants and a garden diagram. It’s nice to spread the joy of gardening!

Our family has had a Mary Garden every year…some large, some small. Last year’s was quite simple: a large raised bed filled with every type of herb imaginable with a statue of our Lady in the midst of all the fragrant and flowery greenery.

It’s a lovely past-time looking up the names of our favorite herbs, and understanding how botanists, gardeners and farmers of old honored our Lady by naming various herbs and flowers for Her.

Here are a few examples of the names of herbs we recognize and the names given in the past to honor our Lady, our Lord and our holy faith (you can find an extremely comprehensive list of herbs and flowers at Mariana I):

Chamomile – Maiden Weed
Feverfew – Mary’s Flower
Fennel – Lady’s Fennel
Lemon Balm – Sweet Mary
Spearmint – Marymint
Marjoram – Mary’s Bedstraw
Stevia – Old Queen
Rosemary – Mary’s Bouquet
Sage – Mary’s Shawl
Savory – Mother-Of-Thyme
Fenugreek – Beautiful Mary
Basil – First Communion Plant

Our family typically spends the Saturday before Mother’s Day preparing our garden for planting. The bed is weeded, our statue “spruced up” and plants are chosen. The following day, we all participate in the planting, afterward crowning our Lady, Queen of the May. One of the first posts I had ever written was about one such Sunday…

I’ll be sure to post a few pictures, as soon as our garden is suitably prepared. I’d be delighted to host a “Carnival of Mary Gardens…” If you have a picture of yours, feel free to send me the link and I’ll be happy to post it!