‘Tis May, the time for planting Mary’s Garden

This is the first in a weekly series of four articles on celebrating May as Mary’s month. Since it’s time to get out those spades, shovels and tender young plants and grub in the dirt, we begin with planting a garden in honor of Mary.

Subsquent articles will focus on celebrating Mary in the home; honoring her with prayer, song and film and taking the family on a day trip to our very own Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in Trenton. Each article will feature a recipe created in her honor.

Statue in the garden at St. Mary of the Lake Church, Lakewood, NJ. Jeanne Scarpato photo

Waiting out this damp, frequently unseasonably cold spring has been rough. Like many gardener/cooks, it was hard not to rush garden centers and load up on the seedlings which hopefully will bless our  Mary Garden in the backyard and on the patio just outside the kitchen door with a profusion of herbs and flowers in the virgin’s honor this year.

Here’s hoping late frosts are behind us because Mary’s Month indeed begins today and the time for sowing in her name is at hand.

The article below on Mary gardens may be nine years old, but the information is as new and fresh as a daisy. Visit it for all the information you will need on getting your Mary garden started this year.


And check out the website below devoted to the memory of John S. Stokes, the gardener who dedicated so much time, insight and talent to enriching the American landscape with gardens dedicated to Our Lady. With the seeds of insight he planted about this charming old custom flourishing from coast to coast, I’ve come to think of him as the Catholic Johnny Appleseed.

I had the true pleasure of interviewing him for The Monitor some years back and treasure the memory still. This website blooms in his honor


Now for a recipe bearing Mary’s name and created in her honor.

By a happy chance, it turns out that zucchini is plentiful on supermarket shelves this week. It’s not Jersey Fresh to be sure — I notice that supermarkets now are referring to the produce as “World Fresh” but I picked it up anyway and it is tender and delish. The rosemary was indeed Jersey Fresh, clipped from young plants purchased at the Trenton Farmer’s Market. 

Zucchini with Rosemary Butter

Ingredients: 3 tablespoons sweet butter; 1 teasp, softened; 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion; 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary; 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice; 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel; 1/4 teaspoon pepper; 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 4 medium zucchini and 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil.

Directions: In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients and set aside; wash the zucchini and peel it if you like, then slice it into 1/2 inch slices. In a skillet, warm the oil on medium heat until it is hot but not bubbling; pour in the first seven ingredients and stir until well warmed; then add the zucchini and cook until slightly al dente. Serve immediately


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