During medieval times, many flowers were devotionally named as symbols of the life, virtues and mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These names were circulated in oral tradition but often omitted from early gardening books. Later, botanists and folklorists began to record the devotional names. Today many people have adopted the custom of growing some of these flowers together in what is known as a Mary Garden.

A Mary Garden can be grown in a patio container, a specially devoted garden space, or you can add a few Mary flowers to an existing garden bed.

John S. Stokes Jr. is considered the founder of the modern-day Mary Garden movement. He donated his extensive research to the Marian Library at the University of Dayton; you can search it at udayton.edu/mary.

Send photos of your Mary Garden to outreach@vermontcatholic.org or tag @DioBurlington on Facebook and Instagram to be featured on Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington social media accounts this summer.

Cornflower: Mary’s Crown

Forget-me-not: Eyes of Mary

Impatiens: Mother Love

Larkspur: Mary’s Tears

Marigold: Mary’s Gold

Morning Glory: Our Lady’s Mantle

Petunia: Our Lady’s Praises

Poppy: Christ’s Blood

Snapdragon: Infant Jesus’ Shoes

Sweet Alyssum: Flower of the Cross

Sweet Scabious: Mary’s Pincushion

Zinnia: The Virgin

Baby’s Breath: Our Lady’s Veil

Black-eyed Susan: Golden Jerusalem

Bleeding Heart: Mary’s Heart

Columbine: Our Lady’s Shoes

Dahlia: Church Flower

Daisy: Mary-Love

Dandelion: Mary’s Bitter Sorrows

Iris: Mary’s Sword of Sorrow

Madonna Lily: Annunciation Lily

Pansy: Our Lady’s Delight

Peony: Pentecost Rose

Poppy: Christ’s Blood Drops

Sunflower: Mary’s Gold

Violet: Our Lady’s Modesty

—Originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.



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