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All About Mary

Parish Mary Garden Care

Essential elements of Parish Mary Garden care and celebration include:

  • Assuming, with Parish Council's and/or pastor's permission and support, responsibility by one or more parishioners for the initial planning, digging, planting and care of Parish Mary Garden.
  • Inspiring and organizing a larger Mary Garden Guild of volunteers committed to joining in the care of the Mary Garden as a devotional work.
  • Preparing and maintaining a plant list and planting plan, usually posted nearby the garden as information for visitors.
  • Installing and maintaining plant markers displaying the common and religious names of the Flowers of Our Lady.
  • Providing and planting replacement plants - annuals, biennials and perennials - at the proper times each year (and maintaining information as to current private or commercial sources where they may be procured).
  • Maintaining a schedule of volunteers to care for regular garden watering, weeding, trimming, edging, and pinching off of spent blooms and foliage. (Several parishes have installed underground piping and bed nozzles for automatic, timer-controlled watering.)
  • Composing and printing a garden descriptive leaflet or brochure, and maintaining a supply for parishioners and visitors in parish pamphlet racks.
  • Establishing a shelf of Mary Garden books and literature in parish or school library.
  • Introducing windowsill and dish Mary Gardens and seed starting in parish school classrooms. Setting aside a niche or section of the Mary Garden for care by pupils. Incorporating seed starting and plant care in science studies, and plant symbolism in religious instruction.
  • Establishing means of funding the purchase of replacement plants if not provided from parishioner home Mary Garden seed starting and nursery beds.
  • From the long view, establishing "fall-back" plans and funds for minimal Mary Garden maintenance by professionl grounds keepers in possible periods of the absence of adequate Guild volunteers.
  • Arranging for the sacramental blessing, with accompanying ceremony, by the parish clergy each year of the focal statue of the Virgin and the Flowers of Our Lady.
  • Organizing liturgical celebrations and Rosary prayers in the Mary Garden, with the spiritual enrichment of related Flowers of Our Lady.
  • Organizing periodic lectures or garden tours for the instruction and motivation of new parishioners and potential Guild members.

(See "Establishing and Maintaining a Parish Mary Garden")

The John Stokes and Mary's Garden collection was transferred to the Marian Library in May 2013. In addition to his archives, manuscripts, artwork, and personal library, John S. Stokes also donated his extensive website. It was transferred to the Marian Library in 2010. This particular entry is archived content original to Stokes' Mary's Gardens website. It is possible that some text, hyperlinks, etc. are outdated.

All About Mary includes a variety of content, much of which reflects the expertise, interpretations and opinions of the individual authors and not necessarily of the Marian Library or the University of Dayton. Please share feedback or suggestions with


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