In New Wine Wednesday

By Elizabeth Tomlin

Photo by Aaron Burden via Unsplash


WWMP? What Would Mary Plant?

May! It’s the month of Mary, and we’re already halfway through.  Parishes are honoring Mary with May Crownings and daily rosaries.  We, too, can bring our parish traditions of honoring Mary into our homes.  How are you honoring Mary this month?

One of my family’s favorite month of Mary traditions is to plant our Mary Garden.  Every year around mid-May, my children and I make a pilgrimage to the plant nursery to pick out annuals and a few perennials to add to our garden.  I always reserve a few of these plants to a pot on the patio that serves as my Mary Garden.  The colors and fragrance create an inviting space to read, pray, or gather with friends.

With so many beautiful flowers, choosing what to plant can involve a lot of decisions.  I like to think, “WWMP? – What would Mary plant?  What would Mary have planted if she walked in your garden, lived in your climate, and enjoyed your yard or garden pots?

Here are the flowers that we chose this year:  

Columbines – Another name for the blue columbine is our “Our Lady’s Shoes.”  Myth is that that they sprouted wherever the Blessed Mother stepped on her way to visit Elizabeth.  Columbines are hearty and can last in the sun or the shade. 


Bleeding Heart – The bleeding heart is a perennial flower that truly looks like a pink heart.  These flowers remind us of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, her love, and even her heart’s sorrows. 


Roses – Roses have long been the flower of Mary.  When Mary appeared in Lourdes, St. Bernadette said that our Lady was wearing a white garment with blue sash and that there were yellow roses on her feet.  St. Juan Diego picked rose petals from the hill where Mary directed him to build a church and put them in his tilma to carry to the bishop.  It was on this tilma that the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was imprinted. 


Lily of the Valley –  Another legend is that when Mary cried at the cross, her tears turned into Lily of the Valley.


Lilies – “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?” – Luke 12:27-28.  If you plant lilies, let them serve as a colorful reminder to trust in God.


Now that I’ve shared a few of my gardening ideas, I’m curious to know yours!  What do you plant in your Mary Garden?  Share a picture of your Mary Garden on our WINE social media – #WINEministry #WINEblog


About the author:

Elizabeth Tomlin, contributing writer to WINE, mother of three, and army wife, is General Counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. She is a founding member of the Military Council of Catholic Women Worldwide Inc., the women’s ministry of the military Archdiocese. Elizabeth speaks broadly on Catholic topics, blogs at, and has a forthcoming book with the same title.

Showing 7 comments
  • Gwen

    I love learning about these different kinds of flowers. I knew about roses, because my Dad was a master gardener of roses and our Blessed Mother was so very important to him. My mother’s favorite were Lilies of the Valley, so small and beautiful and fragrant. But, I have not heard of Columbines and have never had Bleeding Hearts. Thank you. I’ll be purchasing these very soon now that Spring is really here!

    • Elizabeth Tomlin

      Gwen, I hope you enjoy them! Bleeding hearts are kind of like hostas and lilies. After a while, you can split them and re-plant to keep spreading them out/propagating. Enjoy!

  • Tami kiser

    Marigolds are an obvious choice–and I hear they keep away mosquitoes! I’m still waiting for a few of my daylillies to bloom before snapping a picture of my garden. They frame our Mary statue perfectly. It should be any day now. . .

    • Elizabeth

      Tami! Can’t wait to see your picture! Marigolds are smart – and they are so hearty! The deer treat my roses like lollipops if I’m not careful, but they won’t touch the marigolds! 🙂 happy gardening!

  • Evelyn

    My husband & I are relocating to Idaho next month — & will be starting a garden when we get there. I haven’t thought of a Mary Garden until I read your article. Thank you very much, Elizabeth for your great idea!!! I will definitely plant some of the flowers you suggested.

  • Dollia Lemus

    Although Mary Gardens are a perennial favorite (pun intended!), they seem to be on everyone’s mind more so this year!
    A neighbor planted pansies in front of her Mary garden statue and I got my very first garden Mary (the Immaculate Heart) for my birthday a few years ago. I placed her in front of my only rose bush smack in the front of my house. Happy gardening everyone!

    • Dollia

      I mean a few DAYS ago I got my Mary from my family!

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