Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Assumption of Our Lady

Marian Name: Assumption Lily
Common Name: Hosta
Botanical Name: Hosta plantaginea "Royal Standard"

Hosta plantaginea sends up its flowering stalks around the time of the Assumption, hence its Marian Name. Most Hosta flowers are rather common; the plant is usually grown for its beautiful leaves which add form and substance to any shady garden. But the flowers of Hosta plantaginea are the exception. The gorgeous lily-like, pure white flowers on very sturdy stems are not only a delight in the mid-August garden but are sensational in a vase as well.

The photos of the hostas pictured here are from my own garden. I had begun a shade garden at The Mary Garden at the Barn earlier this year but it is still in its infancy stage and only one puny flower stalk has been sent up from the hostas planted there.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our Lady's Lace

Marian Name: Our Lady's Lace
Common Name: Sweet Woodruff
Botanical Name: Galium odoratum

The lacy Sweet Woodruff in the rain...This season the Mary Garden will feature a shade garden and one of its stars will be the delicate ground cover, Sweet Woodruff. Now in bloom in my own garden, I will be borrowing a bit for the Mary Garden and transplant it in the upcoming week. Because it is not an invasive ground cover ( at least in my garden), I allow the Woodruff to wander where it will. I love the way it forms a lacy skirt beneath other shade lovers such as Astilbe, Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’) and Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis). In the Mary Garden it will be featured with Hosta plantaginea "Royal Standard," a Hemerocallis (Daylily) called "Mary's Gold," the aforementioned Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle), Adiantum pedatum (Maidenhair fern), Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) and Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove). More shade lovers will be added as the garden progresses.

Sweet Woodruff does tend to die back a bit in extreme summer heat but comes back again when the wheather cools down. The leaves, when crushed, give off a sweet scent. In Germany, it is the basis for May Wine and has been used as a perfume base as well as a flavoring for tea and in potpourris.

According to legend, Sweed Woodruff was among the dried plants, herbs and flowers used as bedstraw for a couch on which Mary could repose. After the birth of Jesus, the dried plants turned green again and burst into bloom with tiny scented flowers.

Although Galium verum is usually referred to as Our Lady's Bedstraw, occasionally, that name is also applied to Sweet Woodruff.


Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day!

Bring flow'rs of the fairest,
Bring flow'rs of the rarest,
From garden and woodland
And hillside and vale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our Glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest
Rose of the vale.

O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

Our voices ascending,
In harmony blending,
Oh! Thus may our hearts turn
Dear Mother, to thee;
Oh! Thus shall we prove thee
How truly we love thee,
How dark without Mary
Life's journey would be.

O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

O Virgin most tender,
Our homage we render,
Thy love and protection,
Sweet Mother, to win;
In danger defend us,
In sorrow befriend us,
And shield our hearts
From contagion and sin.

O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

Of Mothers the dearest,
Oh, wilt thou be nearest,
When life with temptation
Is darkly replete?
Forsake us, O never!
Our hearts be they ever
As Pure as the lilies
We lay at thy feet.

O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Our Lady's Slipper

Marian Name: Our Lady's Slipper, Our Lady's Shoes
Common Name: Columbine
Botanical Name: Aquilegia x hybrida "Song Bird Blue Bird"

A gem from last year's planting, here's my newest favorite columbine from the Song Bird series. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this past winter's harshness will not hinder it's returning to the Mary Garden in time to celebrate Our Lady's month of May. But since columbines are notorious self-seeders, I'm pretty sure to have some of these beauties in the future. *

The common name, columbine, refers to the dove-like spurred flowers before they are fully opened. while its latin name comes from the eagle wings-like curved petals. The dove is commonly associated with the Holy Spirit.

Among the Mary legends surrounding the columbine is one which has the flower springing up wherever her feet touched the ground as she made her way to her cousin Elizabeth's to share with her the Joyful News.

Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
ancíllæ suæ

* 4/24/09---Oops, what was I thinking! Note the "hybrida" part of the botanical name. Hybrids usually do not come true from seed. So much for a continuous supply of this cultivar from seed. And of course columbines are fairly short-lived. Sigh...


What is a Mary Garden?

Mary Mother of God, Blessed Mother, The Virgin Mary, Our Lady, are just a few of the names we use to address her. And we honor her as Jesus’ Mother, ask for her intercession in our prayers and venerate her by invoking her name in grand and simple ways. We name glorious cathedrals after her as well as the humblest of roadside plants. In Medieval times, cloistered gardens sprung up with collections of herbs and flowers with Marian names, their common names extolling the virtues and attributes of Mary. These gardens came to be called Mary Gardens and the tradition continues to the present day.

For inspiration and research in creating my own Mary Garden, I have depended upon a book by Vincenzina Krymow called Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends and Meditations. My own knowledge and love of gardening, my niece Antonia’s manual labor and the guiding hand of Our Lady of the Barn have additionally helped me in the creation of “The Mary Garden at the Barn for the Poorest of the Poor.”

I will be posting pictures of the individual Mary flowers and plants in my Mary Garden along with the Marian Name, Common Name and Botanical Name. Additionally, I will give a brief run-down of the Mary legend(s) associated with that particular plant as well as my gardening commentary.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Welcome to the Mary Garden at the Barn!

This blog is a spinoff of my Statua Rinnovata blog, more specifically, the "Welcome to My Blog!" post, in which I detail the beginnings of my Mary Garden. It is my intention to use this blog as a journal, not only for the plantings in the garden. but for the comings and goings at the Barn and of its volunteers. So to that end, I have created a Barn Bulletin Board in the Sidebar and on the day of this blog inauguration, I am pleased to post the semi-annual Mass for the Barn at my parish church.

Detailed explanations of a "Mary Garden" and the "Barn for the Poorest of the Poor" to follow.