The Liturgy of Flowers in a Mary Garden

Review of Andrea Oliva Florendo's The Liturgy of Flowers in a Mary Garden

Jul 12 2005 John Stokes to Associates & Correspondents

Attached is a draft review of Andrea Oliva Florendo's "The Liturgy of Flowers In A Mary Garden - A contemplation", which is a most impressive contribution to the present day Mary Garden restoration movement.

I say "draft" because the extensive quotes from the book will be cut down in size for the final sending to editors, etc.

The special importance of the book is that it derives Mary Gardens and the Flowers of Our Lady deductively from the historical writings of the Church Fathers, saints, theologians and poets; whereas our approach at Mary's Gardens has been inductive - starting with the named symbolism of flowers themselves of Medieval popular rural religious traditions, as preserved along with their legends by botanists, folklorists and lexicographers, and then developing their devotional and meditative meanings directly in relation to the creedal deposit of faith.

Thus, the author's deductive approach and our inductive approach meet in union, much as in mathematics the deductive differential calculus and inductive integral calculus meet.

As a consequence, the book devotes little - a two page listing - to what the author terms the "Our Lady" and "Mary" Flowers of the medieval countrysides, of which she lists forty-three; whereas she devotes two chapters to flowers symbolic of Mary's emblems, virtues, and in Rosariums, in the writings of churchmen.

However, as mentioned, the two approaches - written and oral, deductive and inductive - meet devotionally and meditatively in union, through which the author immeasurably enriches Mary Gardening with the former; and it is hoped that this will facilitate the adoption of Mary Gardening in national Catholic cultures where it is seen as outside of established tradition.

book cover

Editors' Background Information: John Stokes, Mary's Gardens, Phildelphia. Book review ( marysgardens@mgardens.org)

The Liturgy of Flowers in a Mary Garden

"The Liturgy of Flowers in a Mary Garden - A Contemplation", Andrea Oliva Florendo, 2004, 160 pages, 75 colored images - Rosetti Della Virgine Books, Oliva and Florendo Publishers, Rosetti della Virgine Books, New York, $29.95

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Andrea Oliva Florendo's "The Liturgy of Flowers in a Mary Garden" admirably fulfills a need envisaged from the outset in the founding of Mary's Gardens in Philadelphia in 1951 - for a thorough, documented, historical study from academia tracing how Mary Gardens of Medieval Flowers of Our Lady became devotional distillations of the floral imagery of the Bible and the Church Fathers.

Paradise Lost and to be Regained

The author does this, beginning with the first chapter, "In the Beginning - And The Bright Green Shoots of Symbolism", by recalling our God's initial showing forth of the divine goodness, truth and beauty in the Garden of Eden in which he created us humans. Following our first parents expulsion from this garden of self-sufficiency into a world of need and pain - as a consequence of their acceptance of temptation by the serpent of Satan to enjoy forbidden fruit - all gardens of God's plants, retaining their original created goodness, truth and beauty, have continued down through history to be reminders of the paradise from which we came, and intended for us for all eternity.

The author then sets forth God's prophecy of Genesis of the coming of the woman who would, through her offspring, conquer the serpent with her heel; and the prophecy of Isaiah, under the image of a miraculously blossoming rod of Jesse, that this Savior would be born of a Virgin of the royal house of David.

The Savior and His Virgin Mother Seen Mystically as the Spouse and Bride in the Garden of the Song of Songs

Continuing in the next two chapters - "The Flower Imagery of Mary" and "This Little Garden of Paradise" - the author then sets forth how the Church Fathers, saints, theologians and poets discerned that the Savior and his Virgin Mother were to be perceived mystically as the Groom and Bride of the mystical garden of the Song of Songs (Canticles) and its flower imagery.

In the words of the Groom, Mary was the Sister, Spouse, Flower of the Field, Lily of the Valleys, Garden Enclosed and Fountain Sealed Up. As the Garden Enclosed, with all its flowers representing her virtues, Mary seen as the garden of paradise bearing Christ; and from the prophecy of Isaiah of the Virgin Mother as blossoming Rod of Jesse, all flowers, were seen in their various symbolisms as signatures of Mary's virtues and other attributes.

The Church Imaged as a Mary Garden of Blossoming Souls.

Tracing this in quotes from the Church Fathers, and in its incorporation liturgically in the Little Office of the Virgin and the Books of Hours, the author concludes with a quote from Honorius of Auton (c. 1156) that "if Mary is the singular Garden of God, blossoming with virtues, bearing Jesus as the fruit of her womb", then "the Church, too is a Marian garden to the extent that it imitates her."

Of this, under the heading, "The Heart of the Mary Garden", the author observes that this Marian interpretation of the mystical devotional writings is the key to the understanding of the present day Mary Garden and its symbolic flowers; and that since it is a symbol of Mary, type of the Church and the Bride of Christ, it is the model for each believer, as the bride who has "maternal and cherishing concern" for the Christ Child and the Church. Thus, in the words of the author:

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"A Mary Garden is the quintessimal garden of the Virgin Mary. The Medieval laity understood it as reflective of God's love. It can be traced from the small secret gardens within a garden of the Middle Ages, in which biblical scenes from Mary were set within a walled garden. These gardens, rich in flower symbolism reveal their charms behind closed doors. For the artists and poets in those days, a rose was not a plant, a plant not just a plant but a sacred story; a tree, a divine truth; a flower, a virtue....

"The name "Mary Garden" has its recorded origins in Medieval and Renaissance religious art in which prints and then paintings of the Virgin and Child are depicted in an enclosed garden surrounded by symbolic flowers. The connection between the Virgin and the Mary Gardens proceeds via the iconography of the "hortus conclusus" in its prefiguration of the Incarnation. The Medieval image of Paradise is an allegory of Mary's immaculate Conception and virginity....

"In this metaphor lies the essence of a Mary Garden. Its basic features of the enclosed wall, the sealed fountain, the tree, the raised beds are held together by pictures of Mary and the Infant Christ seated together alone, surrounded by symbolic flowers, and sometimes by rose arbor with a chorus of angels and songbirds."

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"This introduces us to one of its distinctive features - the flowery mead. Herbs and flowers came to be sanctified as a series of botanical specimens, and gained significance as floral emblems. Each flower within the Mary Garden is seen to mirror the Virgin's noble virtues and attributes. Its over-all composition proclaims the allegorical symbols of the mystery of the Incarnation. . . .

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"In view of this, it is easy how Our Lady could become the center of a tender devotion. Mary is seen as the ultimate sealed garden evoking the plenitude of God. And in the garden¹s abundance, the flowering of virtues in the individual soul. As Mary came increasingly identified as the enclosed garden from whom we got Christ, the tree of Life, the vision of Paradise as a garden continued to remain a symbol of hope. The garden lyrics described by poets and theologians advanced much understanding and inspired the artists to give it a visual representation. By the twelfth century, Medieval Europe already obsessed by the garden imagery of the Song hailed its supremacy as the image of paradise.

"Mary," said St. Jerome (c. 350-420) "is a garden of delights into which are sown all kinds of flowers and spice plants of the virtues." Each flower cultivated within a Mary Garden is seen to mirror the Virgin's noble virtues and attributes. And happily we have a list of trees and flowers with their allegorical virtues compiled by Hugh of St. Victor. Biblical images describing Mary have been added through the efforts of Adam of St. Victor: "a flower without thorns, a fountain of the gardens, a storehouse of fragrant unguents and pigments, a sweet­smelling nard, a flower of the field, a lily of the valleys, a celestial paradise."

"Both were among the Church Fathers who valued the enclosed garden primarily for the effects it awakens, the images it provides for personal devotion and communal reflections."

Thus, the Mary Garden is to be seen symbolically as so much more than a garden where a focal statue of Our Lady is surrounded by her flower symbols.

Author's Childhood Spiritual Inspiration by Flowers

"The Liturgy of Flowers in a Mary Garden", however, contains so much more: a beautiful account of the author's spiritual inspiration by flowers from the earliest childhood; and then her discovery of the spiritual efficacy of their symbolism. Again in her own words:

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"In a sense, the idea for this book began with my father, one that I embraced years ago when as young girl, deeply enchanted with growing things, I was told the miracle of the seed in a jar. His plot rose in a dreamlike sequence which coaxed me to stay, listen, beg for more and literally look for the sprout. Though not physically there at first, I knew it was folded within, asleep, waiting, and in its essence, alive.

"The next morning when I woke up and the pale green wonder emerged, it was truly a magical moment. But the real wonder was that it had been there all along. Within the seed was an entire earth, God's Eden - fresh as the day it was created, Such discovery, however slight, captured my soul and captured a vivid impression.

"Each of us is like a flower in a garden. We participate in some way in the spirit of the Creator. Like the plant of self in a bud, there is an identity in us that is continually unfolding. I found mine in that seed and through others in the garden of my soul. One day blossoming; the next leaving, but always unfolding its tender secrets.

Author's Expression of her Love of Flowers in her Garden Journal and in Paintings

". . . I became an avid gardener, claiming any green thing showing above the earth - whether it was a plain weed, a timid spike, on an abandoned sprig. In my art there was the glory of root, tendril, leaf and petal. It was all gift and miracle, a festival of gratitude.

"My attempts to record my feelings in art and in journals was exhilarating. These efforts forged my determination to understand and paint the divine beauty....The distance between dream and reality is precisely the distance between the handicrafts and paintings. The time it took to traverse this journey was necessary for the magic to come into being. Hundreds of paintings later, I still feel in awe of God's immense natural wonder."

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"...Always there is a language that will draw us to the sacred in ourselves. Once we recognize the voice we begin to unfold like plants moving toward the light. For now we are invited to follow ray of light and step into a paradise garden, the Mary Garden, and linger there."

Discovery of the Mary Garden and Its Spiritual Nurturing

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"In search of flowers I found a Mary Garden. Tender shoots and buds bear silent witnesses to my restoration. I can remember when I was young and nature like people was alive. Fragrant thoughts lifted from the heart of wind; language found it speakers in trees and flowers....Always there is a language which will draw us to the sacred in ourselves. Once we recognize the voice, we began to unfold like plants moving toward the light. For now we are invited to follow a ray of light and step into a paradise garden, the Mary Garden, and linger there. . . .

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"The garden as God's handiwork is a rich source of inspiration, because in it we encounter God, the Creator in creation. The basis for understanding the Mary Garden is through discovering its devotional meanings. Symbolism is the system that provides the meaning. As we resurrect our ties with the natural world, we become more open to receive the Divine which is constantly at work in the rhythm of nature and in us. We will know when the connection comes to fruition. We find the little green shoot of our beginning, we operate in joy and like a flower, we unfold beautifully."

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"The vitality of symbolism flowered in the thirteenth century. It was at this period described as an age of faith that men saw the world of nature as a mirror of the Divine."

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"Early Christian gardeners so loved the Blessed Virgin that they were moved to reflect on her life, grace and mysteries, and saw her image in plants. Sentiments were satisfied through their works of of horticultural education and dissemination of flower symbolism. Religion teachers used flowers as illustrations for their texts, bringing them into the service of the Church.

"The combined action of the Church and the people, religion and popular culture clothed the Virgin in countryside plants and christened them to to reflect the service they offered her as suggested by the plant's form, color and season of bloom. It may seem trivial to use plants to explain a theological concept in such magnitude. But if we can tun our eyes to Mary and the Doctrine of Incarnation, it will help us to understand the flowering of the symbolism.

"...We think of (Mary) as a visual image, an object carved in wood, or sculpted in stone, but the emotions she expresses transcend form, and their vitality is powerful. When our affection to Mary is aroused through particular plant or flower, we are linked through an emotional bond.

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"Wherever your interest leads you, the knowledge of symbolism will make your pursuit and devotion to Mary more meaningful. Christian symbolism with its filament of beauty and sanctity still binds today. Meanwhile, try to paint flowers, plant trees and grow Mary Gardens. Acquaint yourself with the plants - leaf by leaf, and blossom by blossom. Get down on your knees, and dig! Compete with thorns and thistles. ...The sense of fulfillment from this labor brings gifts of earthly delights. Some days, heaven will seem to undress its soul to a quietness only you can fathom. Other times,it will feel like you are in purgatory. I assure you however, that anyone who has a Mary Garden can take pride in it as his Eden."

The Flowers of Cathedral Carvings and Renaissance Religious Paintings

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"Certainly it was not a matter of chance that the concept for this book flowered at Notre Dame in Paris, one of many cathedrals that I visited that was built under the patronage of the Virgin Mary. Inside this cathedral, the sylvan imagery in stones, on capitals, arches, roof bosses of the naves blossomed for me....Each exploration of Medieval cathedrals ...added to the richness of learning.

"The standard accoutrement of botanical symbolism in its literary and artistic repertoire continues to gleam with the glory which prophets, Church Fathers and the common people have celebrated in their prayers, poetry and songs! Thw blooming, for me is in itself a proclamation of Biblical literature!

"Certainly much remains to be collected. Compiling this treasury has made me realize that I am only skimming the surface. Doing the illustrations, however, has been a delightful contemplation...."

Flower Symbolism in the Writings of the Church Fathers, Saints, Theologians and Poets

As distinct from the simple, direct, clear symbolism of the Flowers of Our Lady of the Medieval countrysides, the author sets forth the poetic and mystical elaboration of flower symbolism encountered in her research of the Church Fathers - to which she devotes the next two chapters: "Mary Flower Sermons: Medieval and Renaissance Botanical Symbolism" and "Rosarium: Mary¹s Rose-ary Garden", saying:

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"This chapter seeks to enumerate that which the Church Fathers and Medieval and Renaissance laity said about their beauty and representation of Mary's virtues. The familiar flowers each having its character formed by the meadows and fields, can teach us a sacred story, a divine truth and enhance some aspects of our faith and virtue. The Christian orientation attached to the flowers may help us explore some plants to constitute our present day Mary Garden plantings."

However, as the symbolism of these flowers is set forth in poetry and prose, rather in simple, direct, clear forms and colors indicted by religious names, most do not quicken reflection, meditation and contemplation in the garden, unless one has an attuned memory, or a book in hand. Thus, their inspiration comes primarily when reading of their symbolism while bringing their forms, color and growth to mind from memory.

Flowers of Our Lady Symbols of the Medieval Countrysides

In addition to setting forth a detailed documentation of the distilled garden and flower symbolism of the Bible and Church Fathers, in the envisaged symbolism of the enclosed Mary Garden of Flowers of Our Lady - as set forth in late Medieval and Renaissance architecture, art and poetry, and reflected in the liturgy - the author then examines the simple, direct, clear Marian flower symbolism derived from these in the oral traditions of the Medieval countrysides, as circulated through itinerate preachers, mendicant friars, wandering minstrels, roving players, pilgrims, missionaries and other travelers; and later recorded by botanists and folklorists.

Of these she says,

23 "There are hundreds of Mary flowers, surveyed from different parts of the world and which can be reviewed in many horticultural, botanical and garden history books.... Therefore, my way of coming to terms with the vast mass of Mary-flower symbols is to categorize them in different themes."

Accordingly, the author thus lists these Flowers of Our Lady - with some overlapping - as: 11 flowers symbolizing Mary's emblems - illustrated by her full page paintings of them; 24 symbolizing Mary's virtues, with quqrter-page paintings; 20 grown in monastic rose gardens, or "Rosariums", including 7 Advent and Nativity Flora, 4 Mater Dolorosa Flora, and 4 Mater Gloriosa Flora; and 43 named as symbols of Mary's life and mysteries - from the 100's so-named in the popular oral traditions of the late Medieval European and Latin American countrysides; and, finally, 63 Flowers of Our Lady recommended for cultivation today in Mary Gardens.

Through these listings the author brings together flowers of Mary's emblem and virtues from the writings of saints, theologians and scholars; Rosarium flowers from monastery gardens in the tradition of St. Benedict; and, in the last two groups, from flowers symbolically named for Mary in the countrysides.

Flowers For Present Day Mary Gardens

The list of 63 of Flowers of Our Lady recommended by the author, in the 6th Chapter, "The Making of a Mary Garden", for cultivation today in Mary Gardens consists of 19 herbs for inner beds; 4 herbs for outer beds; 7 herbs as ground covers; 15 low-growing perennials; and 18 other annuals, perennials and biennials. As these are listed only by their common and botanical names, the symbolic Marian names of some are to be obtained from the above-mentioned list of 43 of Mary's life and mysteries; but those of others must be obtained from religious or gardening books; or from the Internet, such as at:

www.mgardens.org/OLG-100H-LIST.html - 100 Herbs for Mary Gardens
www.mgardens.org/OLG-200-LIST.html - 200 Flowers for Mary Gardens

These are herbs and countryside Flowers of Our Lady preferred for present day Mary Garden cultivation because they immediately quicken reflection, meditation and contemplation through the directly discernable symbolism of their forms and colors - as indicated by their old names.

However, the author has performed an invaluable service for Mary Gardeners by setting forth the broader background flower symbolism of the Church, from which the symbolism of the countryside Mary Garden Flowers of Our Lady is derived. Through reading of the broader flower symbolism of our Lady's emblems, virtues and Rosariums, the Mary Gardener is more fully disposed to discern the symbolism of the garden flowers.

Rosary Mary Gardens

The Marian Flower symbolism in the book's fifth chapter, "The Rosarium" - like that of the fourth chapter, "Mary Flower Sermons", - consists of summaries from the writings and poems of the Church Fathers, saints, theologians and poets, including the the joyful symbolism of 7 Advent and Nativity Flowers; the sorrowful symbolism of 4 Mater Dolorosa Flowers, and the glorious symbolism of 4 Mater Gloriosa Flowers.

In an introductory section of this chapter, "The Rose Chaplet", the author mentions the 15 Mysteries of the traditional Rosary of Our Lady - 5 joyful, 5 sorrowful and 5 glorious - meditated on in the praying the Paters and Aves, saying, "It is to this beloved tradition that we turn to Mary to help us meditate the way to Jesus through the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries. By recalling the mysteries, the devotee also practices the virtues."

Later in this introductory section she cites that "For St. Therese of Liseaux, popularly known as "The little flower of Jesus", the meditation on flowers was seen as an individual way of receiving grace. May the same grace overflow us as we explore the flowers in Mary's Rosarium."

In 55 years of assisting parents, schools, parishes, convents and shrines in starting Mary Gardens, we of Mary's Gardens have found that viewing and organizing the Flowers of Our Lady conceptually within the context of the mysteries of the Rosary has been a most effective means of fostering prayer, and spiritual formation and growth - especially with children.

The Rosary provides a unifying context for the flower symbols, and the flower symbols elucidate the Mysteries. Pope John Paul II wrote in 'Rosarium Virginis Mariae' that to use a suitable symbol to portray each mystery "is as it were to open up a scenario on which to focus our attention... In the Church's traditional spirituality...the devotions appealing to the senses...make use of visual and imginative elements judged to be of great help in concentrating the mind on the particular mystery."

For their Rosary Mary Gardens, a number of parishes have installed stepping stone Rosary walks of square stones for the Our Fathers and round stones for the Hail Mary's - of a length for 5 mysteries in larger gardens, and 1 mystery in smaller.

Flower symbols of the mysteries have been grouped in various ways, depending on the space available and the garden layout. As it is not horticulturally feasible to plant them in linear sweeps for the 20 mysteries (now including the 5 Luminous Mysteries added by Pope John Paul II), one arrangement has been to group flowers according to the colors symbolizing each mystery group - white for the Joyful, red for the Sorrowful, yellow/gold for the Glorious, and purple (of the royalty of Christ the King and Mary the Queen, of God's Kingdom being established on earth) for the Luminous.

Those seeking larger lists of flowers symbolizing the Sorrowful, Glorious, Luminous and Unitive Mysteries are referred to on the Internet: www.mgardens.org/FOLAMGFS.html - Background Reference/Index for Teachers

Concluding Chapter

This brings us to the final, prose-poetry chapter 9 of the book, "Tis Fragrant Reverie of Mary", in which the author concludes: "Prayer is part of that continuing search of self that will again and again unearth your wishes and your dreams, and help you make them real. The further you go, the more paths will open up themselves to you.

"Certainly, the happiest moments are those times when I am sitting still, Listening and communicating, getting in touch with who I am, And what I can be. Once there, I am a prayer. There is nothing more: there could be nothing more when you enter the fullness of God. Only then will you realize that you are alone and it is all right."

Surely, according to, "The further you go, the more paths will open themselves up to you", the author will discover, or has already discovered, that on entering further into the fullness of the union with God through meditating on the Glorious Mysteries, she is no longer alone, but comes forth with Mary, and in emulation of her - that by Mary's spouse, the Holy Spirit, she "will be created" that she "will renew the face of the earth" - as we pray in the "Come Holy Spirit".

The marigold received its name "Mary's Gold" from St. Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th Century following a mystical heavenly vision, and it is through the mystical ascent of the Glorious Mysteries that Mary, as she comes forth from the Heaven of the Trinity clothed with the sun, "shows us the blessed fruit of her womb Jesus" - for which we pray in the "Hail Holy Queen".

In the focus of her book on the emblems, virtues and Rosarium of the Immaculate Conception, Annunciation and Nativity, the author magnificently exemplifies the opening petition of the Come Holy Spirit: "Enter the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love" - the love of Mary, his spouse. And surely with her outstanding book and further paintings, she is already sublimely contributing, per the Luminous Mysteries, to the renewal of the face of the earth.

It is hoped she will in time write a companion book reseaching the flower symbols of purgative, glorious and luminous mysteries, and their antecedents with the Church Fathers, saints, theologians and poets, as thoroughly as she has with the affective symbols.

o O o

Further information about the book, photos of some of its Madonna icons and flower paintings, and information about the author can be obtained on the Internet, from: http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/rr01248.htm#table

APPENDIX

The Flowers of Our Lady and Mary Gardens in the author's native Philippines

From reading a 1953 Catholic Digest article about the offering (at cost) of introductory "Our Lady's Garden" mail order seed and literature kits by not-for-profit Mary's Gardens of Philadelphia, Bishop Gerard Mongeau, O.M.I., Prelate of Cotabato and Sulu, Philippines, ordered a quantity of these kits for a 1954 Marian Year Mary Garden contest in the boys and girls departments of 15 diocesan high schools - for the Bishop Mongeau Trophy.

In subequent correspondence we were informed by his Chancellor that,

"In the national Catholic paper, "The Sentinel", an article was run on the "contest" and several priests, nuns and laymen have written in asking where they can obtain seeds in the Philippines...but I just gave them your address...because we could distribute a million packages of seeds and still need more, if we gave them out free to everyone. So we are concentrating on our schools where we know the seeds will be planted and cared for, and the spirit of the Mary Garden will be talked up by the priests, brothers, sisters and lay teachers."

Then on April 2, 1954 he wrote: "I am happy to report that our Mary's Gardens competition in the Notre Dame schools has been successful. As you know the school year ends in March and opens in June. Not like the June closing and the September reopening in the states. So we ended the competition on March 15th, and presented the prizes at graduation time in the schools that won.

"The Notre Dame of Morala won first prize - a loving cup suitably engraved with the words: "Bishop Mongeau Trophy for the Best Mary's Garden - 1954". The second prize was won by Notre Dame of Marbel, anda smaller cup was given to them. The third best garden was at Notre Dame of Cotabato, and the fourth, Notre Dame of Jolo. I am enclosing pictures of the gardens. Not too good as photos go, but they give an idea of the work accomplished. We had thirty different Notre Dame departments in the competition, including elementary, highschool and college.

"I can not give you a detailed account of the success of the seeds, although I enclose a very fine report from Brother Herbert, winner of second prize. The first prize winner had the garden in the form of a huge rosary, ten small bushes for each Hail Mary, and a large bush for the Our Fathers - ending in a great big cross. The cross was filled with water and water lilies. Then at the background they had erected a nice grotto. you can only get an idea of the garden from the picture. The third prize winner was a humdinger of a garden with a little gate marked "Mary's Garden", and the professionally built grotto - a gift of an engineer living in the neighborhood. Joly garden was not so good as to the flowers, but the novel grotto made af coral put it in fourth place.

As a consequence of the "Sentinel" article, we received a request for seeds from Fr. Depperman, S.J., Director of the Manilla Astronomical Observatory, with whom we entered into extensive correspondence about seed germination in the tropics.

In December of 1954 he wrote, "I find that in other convents of the city, Mary's Gardens are being started." Further Mary Garden information was conveyed to the Philippines from 1956 to 1974 through the Ravenhill Academy of the Assumption in Philadelphia, managed and staffed by nuns of the Assumption order from the Philippines, and which had a delightful school Mary Garden.

This account of the cultivation of Mary Gardens in the Philippines is given here in some detail, because it is an instructive example of the restoration of the Flowers of Our Lady and Mary Gardens in national religious and gardening cultures - to which it is hoped Andrea Oliva Florendo's "The Liturgy of Flowers in a Mary Garden" will contribute, especially in countries where the planting of Mary Gardens of Flowers of Our Lady has in recent history not been part of the culture.


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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