As a child we celebrated May 1st with the Crowning of our Blessed Mother, symbolic of the honor we give her as the one chosen by God to bear His Son, our salvation. We also placed a cone of flowers on our neighbors front doors, pressed the doorbell and ran away. The Maypole dance was a favorite too but I think the last time we practiced this was in the 6th grade! No matter, it’s never too late to bring these fun activities back into our lives?
Flowers are included in works of Christian art not only because they are beautiful creations but they also have particular meanings: Lilies symbolize Mary’s purity, humility and loving obedience to God’s will. The iris symbolize Mary’s fidelity, the sword shaped leaves denotes the sorrows that pierce her heart. Gladiolus also symbolize “piercing sorrows” and red gladiolus signifies martyrdom.
Baby’s breath stand for purity and innocence and also for the breath and power of the Holy Spirit. Ivy stands for eternity and faithfulness, violets for Mary’s constancy, humility and innocence. The columbine flower has its circlet of petals thought to resemble doves and the blue columbine is a symbol of fidelity. Marigolds symbolically represent Mary’s simplicity and domesticity, hence its name “Mary’s Gold”.
Last, but not least, is the rose. The “queen of flowers” symbolizing Mary, the Queen of Heaven. A universal representation of perfect love, its color, form and fragrance along with its thorns signifies Mary’s role in salvation history as the Mother of God and our Savior who was crowned with thorns and shed His Blood on the Cross for love of mankind.
All of these flowers are in our garden, chosen because of their meanings to honor the Mother of Christ –the violets, lilies from Easter and columbines are in bloom as of today and the roses are showing signs of budding. Also planted are flower seeds and bulbs for each of our family members birth months, it’s a riot of color in June and July when all seems to burst forth at the same time. Many of the flower beds contain plants for the memory of deceased family and friends or plants as part of a Healing Garden. Create your own today, Spring has finally arrived!
“Mary’s Flowers-Gardens, Legends and Meditations” by Vincenzina Krymow and “Flowers–The Angel’s Alphabet, The Language and Poetry of Flowers” written and illustrated by Susan Loy are personal favorites and invaluable guides for gardeners. Answer this question and I’ll mail the first responder some of them for your garden: What plant symbolizes the fruitfulness of Mary? Hint: It has no stones, no thorns and can be eaten whole.