Twelve Days of Christmas: #9

Nine Ladies Dancing

By Anita Van Hal

Repost from Dec. 22, 2014: Honoring the Mother Mary

By Debra Knapke

It seems appropriate for this season that we celebrate plants that reference the Mother Mary.

If you see Lady as part of the common name, it is probable that this is a plant that was precious to the Mother Mary.  There are many stories that combine Mary’s love of plants and how they figured in different moments of her life.

Other common names that relate to Mary include virgin and, of course, the eponymous: Mary. In 2004 I was one of many Ohio authors at a book signing event in Cleveland.  We were at tables in alphabetical order.  My table partner was Vincenzia Krymow, author of Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends, and Meditations: Living Legends of Our Lady. We had a delightful time discussing plants, philosophy and life as we waited for someone, anyone, to buy our books.

The plants loved by Mary are beautiful and many are herbal. If you decide that you would like to create a garden that honors Mary, consider these nine plants:

  • Lady’s mantle – Alchemilla mollis –
  • (Our) Lady’s thimble – Campanula rotundifolia
  • Virgin’s bower – Clematis vitalba
  • (Our) Lady’s slipper – Cypripedium calceolus
  • Christmas rose; rose de Noel – Helleborus niger
  • Mary’s dying plant – Lavandula officinalis (L. angustifolia is the valid name)
  • Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Marigold – Tagetes sps. and cultivars
  • Costmary – Tanacetum balsamita

‘Wishing you remembrance and love for this season.

Spring Countdown: 10 days


The temperatures are fluctuating like they usually do in March and these can be as damaging to our plants as deeply cold temps.  Watch for heaving plants as we go through freeze – thaw cycles.

Speaking of cold temperatures: thus far in Central Ohio we have experienced a Zone 5b winter: -10°F to -15°F, and, my three-year-old rosemarys are toast.  Deep in my heart I knew that they would eventually succumb to low winter temperatures – see picture above – but I was spoiled by two Zone 7 winters.  Some rosemary cultivars can withstand temperatures down to 0°F and even a bit lower if they are covered with snow, but they can’t go down to -14° which is what I had in my back yard.

Fortunately, there is a rosemary-in-waiting in my greenhouse, pictured below.  I have started some cuttings, but I have a feeling I will be looking for a few larger plants during my spring shopping expeditions.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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