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John Stokes and Mary's Gardens

Shut-ins, Mary Gardens for

Mary Gardens for Shut-ins

– Merrill A. Maynard, The Marian Era X, 1971

(Editor's Note: Merrill A Maynard, blind horticulturist, tells us how to prepare and take care of an Indoor Mary Garden, and offers a poem he has written about such a garden.)

The bedfast and shut-in finds it a great attraction to combine religion with hobby activity. At the Nazareth Village, home of the Holy Family, there surely was a garden. Monasteries and shrines feature Mary Gardens based on an ever-increasing list of plants for botanical, folklore, and other associations with Christian thought.

The first Mary Garden on the American Continents is still viewed by tourists at Woods Hole, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Mrs. Bonnie Roberson directs an apostolate wherein she is still designing Mary Gardens in the United States and Canada. From her generosity I am stimulated to offer the proposal that bedside Mary Gardens may afford opportunity for an Act of Prayer as well as a Place of Prayer. It is already quite popular to make dish gardens featuring a suitable statue and foliage or flowering plants adapted from the gigantic Mary Garden index of plants.

Two pamphlets of the U.S.D.A. afford guidance: House Plants, and Decorating with Indoor Plants. Ferneries, dish gardens, and planters afford many stimulating possibilities. However, a rather new approach is use of the terrarium as a center requiring a minimum of uncontrollable situations.

As a group service activities effort, making terrarium Bedside Mary Gardens seems to be almost ideal. Local gardeners will help if they have a starter list to go by. Aquarium supply shops may be useful in assembling suitable equipment. As a source of room light it will afford a focus if desirable, or may be set at a point of less imposing presence if preferable. However, whether an individual or a group is to make up the Garden, a basic information list is vital.

Choice of a statue will depend mostly on local supply and desires of the person for whom the garden is intended, but it is well to supply one to stand moisture and sunlight conditions of outdoors. The Hummel figurine called Our Lady of the Flowers fascinates me, but it is best to know preferences of the recipient. It is a marvelous conversation piece too. Ever so many will appreciate it.


A poem design on living leaves can pray,
Perhaps their flowering reciprocates
The greatest glory worship of the day-
Our inwardness of soul to heaven relates.
Our guilt escapes environment to cry:
As Pilate, or as Lady Macbeth, wash hands;
With filters clear the water and the sky,
And chemical reversion clean our lands.
New flower power blooms from self desire
Each soul, self giving, joins the Light of truth,
Involved, united praying for the entire
Reflection of the sun of daily youth.
From Eden to Gethsemane to find
Nazareth Village meeting in my mind.

- Merrill A. Maynard

Reprinted with permission.

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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