Today Matt Swaim of the Sunrise Morning Show/Sacred Heart Radio, chatted about Mother’s Day. I love to give container gardens for the special moms on my list which feature herbs and flowers with Biblical significance.
Mary Gardens were started during medieval times and were usually gardens that were enclosed, often in monasteries.
I have always felt that an herb garden needs a statue of Mary, even before I had ever heard about Mary Gardens. They were places of quiet beauty where one could pray and think about our Mother.
Flowers and Herbs for a Mary Garden
Out of all God’s creations none could rival the flowers in representing her purity, her holy beauty and her glory. So, fragrant herbs and flowers remind us of her spiritual sweetness, the soothing and healing herbs remind us of her heavenly mercy and compassion and we even have the bitter and sour herbs, which remind us of her bitter sorrows. The Christians saw these plants as special signs of heaven so they gathered them for churches, and eventually started placing them on altars and strewn throughout the church. They were also woven into garlands and crowns worn by priests.
Crowning Mary with a crown of flowers dates back to ancient times.
When we were kids, May crowing was a big event. I remember the grotto that Mary was in. We had Mary Gardens without realizing it!
Lots of folks now do container gardening. What kinds of plants would be appropriate in a container Mary Garden?
I like smaller varieties of traditional Bible herbs. You can make a small container with just a couple of herbs, or a larger one with several.
Roses certainly. And I would plant the miniature roses. Roses are the emblem of Mary and she is called the First Rose of Martyrs.
Yes, it’s a vibrant green and is a good background plant. The seed of this plant, Coriander, is mentioned as the manna of the Bible
Impatiens are a nice container plant.
Impatiens represent a mother’s love, their size is nice for containers.
The name of a common flower, marigold, has significance, too.
Marigolds are called “Mary’s gold”, and the one I would suggest is lemon gem, it’s a delicate plant with tiny golden flowers.
How would rosemary fit in a container Mary Garden?
Rosemary’s name comes from the legend that Mary tossed her blue cloak over the bush which had white flowers. They turned blue in her honor. Try a trailing rosemary, and I would plant it toward the rim of the container so it can trail over.
A Mary Garden wouldn’t be complete without mint.
Mints, mentioned as tithing herbs in the Bible, can quickly take over. Try a mint called chocolate mint – smells like a peppermint patty – it grows lower than traditional mints so is good for containers. Also pineapple mint is pretty with variegated cream and green colored leaves.
And pansies are perfect for a container Mary Garden. This edible flower is often called “Our Lady’s Delight”.
Let’s talk about thyme.
Try one of the creeping thymes or “steppin” thymes, both low growing. Some people use it as bedding for Jesus’ manger.
Basil would be a popular herb to include since it’s used so much in cooking.
And basil, a common culinary herb, is beautiful in containers. There are small varieties like minet and globe basil, and form a pretty mound instead of growing straight up.
What about chives?
Onion chives stand out in a container. Put them in the middle or toward the back. These are relatives to onions, mentioned in the Book of Numbers.
So you can grow both flowers and herbs in a container Mary Garden.
Yes, as long as they have the same soil and climate requirements, the flavors do not transfer to each other.
And here’s a lovely frittata to make for your special Mom:
FRITTATA WITH FRESH HERBS
The Frittata is sometimes called the Italian version of an omelet. Frittata fillings are mixed in with the eggs in the pan rather than folded in the center like an omelet. Well-beaten eggs are cooked on the stove in a hot skillet, along with the fillings, for a few minutes until the outer edges are set. Then the pan is transferred to the oven or broiler where the frittata finishes cooking.
Nice to serve Mom at breakfast or brunch, or even lunch! Use this recipe as a guide. See what’s in the frig and pantry and go from there. Even if you just have parsley to sprinkle on, you’re good to go.
Preheat oven to 375.
4 large eggs, room temperature
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
A generous couple tablespoons of 2-3 herbs – try chives, basil and parsley
3/4 cup cheddar or Gruyere or your favorite cheese
Parmesan or Romano for sprinkling on top
Separate eggs. Whisk yolks with a decent amount of salt and pepper, until thick and fairly light.
Beat whites with a dash of salt until stiff but not dry. Pour yolks over whites and gently fold them into whites.
Melt butter in a 10” nonstick oven proof skillet and heat just until starting to foam but not brown. Pour egg mixture into skillet, spread evenly and smooth top. Cover pan with a lid whose underside has been sprayed to prevent sticking. (You can also use foil). Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove cover and sprinkle omelet with cheeses and herbs.
Put skillet in oven until top is set, several minutes. It won’t take real long. Give it a shower of Parmesan. Cut into 8 wedges.