If you want to grow beautiful flowers in honor of Mary in your garden, here is a basic guide.
A Marian garden is the most popular Catholic garden. The first garden known to be dedicated to Mary was planned by Saint Fiacre in France in the 7th century.
Catholic gardeners have turned to other garden themes to honor Mary, and a Rosary garden tops the list. There are nearly 50 plants linked to the legends of Mary’s life or symbolic of her joys and sorrows.
There are many ways to create a Rosary garden, and here I present five possibilities. Four of the Rosary Gardens can be associated with a set of Mysteries: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, Glorious.
Selecting just one mystery for your garden theme, along with considering the climate you live in, will narrow the focus of plant selection. Within each mystery are five events, for which you will seek symbolically relevant plants for each.
An example of a Sorrowful Mystery: the First Mystery is Agony in the Garden, and you can select Butterfly Grass, tuberous milkweed. The symbolism of this plant is “letting go,” and Jesus’ agony in the garden is his abandonment of everything to do the will of God.
Another example is for the third glorious mystery, the descent of the Holy Spirit. Here you can incorporate the trinity shrub Bougainvillea spp. in your garden. It is known as the trinity flower because of the repeated sets of three in the structure of the flower.
The colors associated with each Mystery are another way – the fifth in this article – to create a Rosary garden. Each mystery has a traditional color associated with it (which will be explained here) and, in recent years, a modern color scheme related to the psychology of color.
The traditional colors are:
Happy/white, Bright/purple, Painful/red and Glorious/yellow.
Modern colors are:
Happy/gold and orange, Bright/white and yellow, Painful/deep burgundy and purple, and Glorious/blue.
To create a Rosary Garden that includes all four sets of Mysteries, divide a garden space into quadrants – linear, circular or parallel – where each quadrant is a different color, using colorful flowers or leaves.
Let’s start with green, the most abundant color in the garden.
Green symbolizes the virtue of hope and represents growth, fertility, renewal, rest and balance. It’s an alluring and alluring color in that it can make us pause and mentally “breathe” before we’re even aware we need to. Make sure you create your space to allow for the textures and prominence of green that will enhance the color elements you have selected.
White is the color of truth and holiness. It represents purity, innocence and kindness. White tells us about relationships because, in our perception of colors, it tints the way we see. White is not in itself a color but the complete revealed energy (manifestation) of all colors. A very beautiful explanation of the fullness of God.
Here for the Mysteries of Light, purple is associated as a meditative color, a color of purpose. It combines the calm, freshness and expansiveness of blue with the focus and energy of red. It is a creative color that we associate with inspiration, and in the Catholic tradition it symbolizes preparation. In the order of the Rosary, the Mysteries of Light fall after the Joyful Mysteries, and these events prepare us for the Sorrowful Mysteries to come.
It is a primary, bold and vibrant color, linked to stronger emotions, symbolizing energy and intensity. In the Catholic tradition, red symbolizes sacrifice (literally the blood of life), the passion of the Lord and martyrdom. When creating a Rosary garden dedicated to the Sorrowful Mysteries, use deep pinks with saturated reds to reduce intensity and avoid appearing garish. Keep in mind the fall color of the leaves to add another dimension to the garden space.
This color well reveals the Glorious Mysteries. Yellow is full of intellectual energy, symbolizing wisdom, joy, happiness, caring, and enlightenment. It brings awareness and clarity to the mind. In the color spectrum, it is considered to be invigorating and exciting, pure, luminous, and the easiest to see of all colors. We can easily see how the glory of God is revealed through Christ.
Creating a Quadrant Rosary Garden is one of the easiest ways to honor our Blessed Mother Mary. If you choose to create a garden dedicated to each Mystery and select symbolic plants, a Christian resource for plant symbolism is the book Garden Catechism: 100 Plants in the Christian Tradition and How to Grow Them.