|Notre Dame of the Roses by Simon Saint-Jean|
Rosary comes from the word rosarius, which means a garland or bouquet of roses.
Legend has it that once Our Lady appeared to a young monk as he was reciting Aves. Taking rosebuds from his lips, she wove the flowers into a garland and placed it on her head.
Roses are often associated with the Blessed Mother, but most flowers have some kind of association with her as well. In ancient times, most plants were named for pagan gods, but with the spread of Christendom they were renamed with religious themes. Many flowers, then, have "secret" Mary names.
A Mary Garden, then, is "a garden filled with flowers, plants, and trees named for Our Lady and Jesus, designed to be a place of beauty that reminds us of Our Lord and Our Lady, allows one to experience God's creation, and invites prayer and contemplation."
Plant flowers that are named for the Stations of the Cross or the Mysteries of the Rosary. Every time you take a walk in your garden, you can also meditate on the Stations or "walk the Rosary!"
Check out this website for an extensive list of flowers, their former pagan name, and their Christian names. Here are some of our favorites:
Violet....................Our Lady's Modesty
Baby's Breath.......Mary's Veil
Fern.....................Our Lady's Hair
Foxglove..............Eyes of Mary
Lily of the Valley...Our Lady's Tears
Don't have time for a garden?
- Plant a few flowers in a pot to give to a friend/relative devoted to Mary
- Experiment with a virtual Mary Garden!
- Consider planting some flowers for a "roadside shrine" if you live in the country
Some helpful websites to get you started: