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John Stokes and Mary's Gardens

Flower Sources and Ordering Information

Flowers of Our Lady Plant Source Guide

The Mary's Gardens Master List of some 140 Flowers of Our Lady commercially available as plants has been prepared for the convenience of both new and experienced Mary-Gardeners.

The plants are listed alphabetically by botanical name, together with a common and religious name for each plant and keyed cross-references to four plant nurseries offering plants by mail order.

Starting with purchased plants has the advantage of being able to have an "instant" garden. It has the disadvantage of greater expense, a more limited number of varieties to choose from as compared to starting from seed, and some risk of setback to the plants during shipping and transplanting and from placing them in a different soil and climatic environment from that in which they were started.

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Flowers of Our Lady Seeds 6 Seed Company Web Pages

Park Seed

Thompson & Morgan

W. Atlee Burpee & Co.

All three web pages have provisions for e-mailing gardening questions to the company horticulturalists for prompt e-mail replies. Use this service for assistance with any seeds with which you may have questions or difficulties.

Two of these web pages also provide basic gardening information, and hot-links (with duplications) for comprehensive access to general gardening information available from many other Internet Web Pages. Of note:


List of Gardening Magazines
Flower Almanac (Encyclopedia), under construction
Hot Links ("Gardening Internet Links" in "Table of Contents")
GardenNet Web Page and Links
Guide to Gardens of the USA, by State and City
GardenScape Web Page and Links
List of Gardening Companies
List of Educational Resources
List of Magazines, Publishers and Newsgroups
World List of Garden, Arboreta, Botanical Garden and Herbarium Web Pages

Hot Links ("Hot Links" at bottom of "Who We Are" page)
Cyndi's Lists of Gardening Catalogs, by plant category
The Gardener's Guide to Finding Answers on the Internet
The Teaching Garden
The Gardener's Reading Room
The Sun Room - House Plants
Down the Garden Path - World-Wide Tour of Gardens
Gardening Software
e-mail Lists for Gardeners


Send a Virtual Mary-Flower Bouquet

Flowers of Our Lady Seed 5 Starting Plants From Seed

A Mary Garden can be started with grown plants purchased from garden centers, roadside stands and local or mail order plant nurseries. Mary-Gardeners are encouraged to sustain and enhance their gardens by starting plants from seeds.

Plants started from seeds are healthier; better adapted to the garden environment of soil, light and temperature in which they are sown; less expensive; and of much greater variety than those which can be purchased as grown plants.

In general, Annual, Biennial and some Perennial plants are of easy germination - requiring the moisture, warmth and light of a frost-free environment. Some perennials, however, require a cool, moist after-ripening or "unlocking" of the seeds, which is provided in nature by winter weather, in preparation for spring germination. In seed-sowing practice this needed conditioning is commonly provided by a moist chilling of the seeds through placing them in small containers of moist peat or vermiculite (sterile, expanded mica), available at garden stores, and putting in a refrigerator for 6 weeks prior to spring warm soil sowing. Decide if you wish to undertake the germination of seeds for those flowers with this requirement.

Two of the seed catalogs, Park and T&M, contain detailed instructions for starting each plant from seed (including moist chilling, where applicable), so that ease or difficulty of germination can be considered before ordering. Chiltern and Burpee include sowing and cultivation instructions with the shipment of seeds. The Burpee catalog also offers numerous seed starting aids.

The Chiltern Catalog (273 flowers from the list) offers the largest number of flowers, listing them with descriptions in alphabetical order, with herbs listed separately at the back. Of special historical interest to Mary-Gardeners is an index listing of British Wild Flowers, which includes the flowers mentioned in "The Mary Calendar" by Judith Smith, Ditchling, England, 1930 - the inspiration for the Garden of Our Lady founded by Frances Crane Lillie in 1932 at St. Joseph's Church, Woods Hole on Cape Cod, Massachusetts: the mother garden of the present-day Mary Garden restoration movement.

The Thompson & Morgan Catalog (125 flowers from list) provides detailed germination and caring information for each plant genus listed, through reference keys to instructions at the front of the catalog (including moist chilling where required), plus special tips for each individual genus. Included is an indication for each genus as to the level of experience and care required to achieve the best results: "Easy", "Experience Useful" and "Challenging" as to germination; and "Easy", "Understanding and Care" and "Particular Care Needed" as to aftercare.

The Park Catalog (45 flowers from list) has similarly informative keys for each plant, referring to an "Index, Germination and Culture Guide" at the end of the catalog. Especially helpful is the keying of each plant according to 10 different preferred seed sowing and germinating environments - of temperature, time of year, soil medium, container, location, etc. (including moist chilling).

(The Data Base of the Mary's Gardens Catalog of seeds provided in the 1951-1965 period - before wider varieties of seeds became commercially more readily available through the founding of Chiltern Seeds and the opening of the Thompson & Morgan U.S. branch - likewise lists 80 flowers now on the list, by germination and other characteristics.)

The Burpee Catalog (59 flowers from the list) offers assistance in seed starting through a number of practical aids such as seed-starting trays, germination soil medium, tray heating elements, windowsill greenhouses, grow-light seed tray stands, and ventilating outdoor cold frames. Burpee also offers 6-plant pot packs and 58-plant trays of small started plants, shipped in moisture-protected packages for arrival at the proper time for spring plant planting in the purchaser's area.

Flowers of Our Lady Seeds 4 Seed Catalog Ordering

The four sources listed here offer free catalogs which may be obtained by emailing or writing for them at the addresses indicated, or by ordering through their Internet home pages.

CHILTERN SEEDS, Bortree Style, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 7PB, England

PARK SEED, 1 Parkton Ave., Greenwood, SC 29647-0001, USA
Internet Home Page :

THOMPSON & MORGAN, P.O. Box 1308, Jackson, NJ 08527-0308, USA
Internet Home Page:

W. ATLEE BURPEE & CO., Warminster, PA 18974, USA
Internet Home Page:


THOMPSON & MORGAN, LTD, Poplar Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, 1P83BU, England

T&M SARL, Rue Guerin, 62217 Tilloy-les-Mofflaines, France

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 early 2010. This particular entry is archived content original to Stokes' Mary's Gardens website. It is possible that some text, hyperlinks, etc. are outdated.


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