Creating a Quiet Refuge From the World

Where I Got the Idea for My Mary Garden

I used to drive past the same Statuary business on my way to church every Sunday. They had a statue of what I thought was Christ, sitting under a pine tree by the front entrance. There was something about that statue that caught my eye, and I admired it every time I drove by.

Fast forward to three years ago. I decided to expand the border along the arborvitae hedge, and that statue kept popping in my head. It would make a great focal point for the new garden. I figured it was well outside my price range, but I decided to call and ask.

The person that answered the phone had no idea what statue I was talking about.  He said they didn’t have a Christ statue in the front of the store.  Then he remembered. “Oh, the ‘Mary’ statue under the tree out front? That’s not for sale. It was damaged when it was delivered, and we left it under the tree out front.”

Statue in my Mary Garden
Mary statue that is installed in our Green, white and grey garden border.

I took a deep breath and asked if I could buy it.  “How much do you want to pay?”  I had no idea, so I asked how much he wanted for it.  “Give me $300 and we’ll call it good.”  I couldn’t believe it. I told him I’d stop by to pick it up.

Here I am posing with our new Mary statue after it was secured to a heavy-duty dolly.

Tom and I showed up in our Ford Focus, paid the guy and said we’d load it up to take it home.  He laughed. “I’m not sure you realize it, but that statue weighs about 800 pounds. It’s solid marble. There’s no way you’re going to get it into that car.”  I figured he was exaggerating and walked over and gave the statue a push. It didn’t budge.

We ended up renting a U-Haul truck with a lift gate and a heavy-duty dolly. The photograph above shows me posing with the statue. Trust me, if it weren’t for Tom, that statue would still be in the back of the U-Haul. I couldn’t move that statue if my life depended on it.

Mary Garden progress showing sod removal

Once we got the statue in place, I dug up the sod to widen the borders along the edges. I removed the turf, tilled-in compost and prepped the border for plants. I decided to use a green, white, and grey color scheme.

Green, white, and grey color scheme for the Mary Garden
The view of the Mary Garden after sowing grass seed.

The photograph above shows the Mary Garden after sowing the grass seed. This is what the garden looked like before the tree hydrangea was moved and the hornbeam hedge was installed. I planted a lot of great plants including:

  • Dusty Miller
  • Artemisia
  • Annabelle hydrangea
  • ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies *
  • Lamium ‘White Nancy’
  • Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’

* The lilies were removed after lily beetle came to the garden. I did not want to spray pesticides and I couldn’t manage the pest organically.

Sketch showing what the hornbeam hedge will look like when it is installed.

We added a hornbeam hedge at the inner edge of the Mary garden to create a separate space. I wrote an article about installing the hornbeam hedge if you want to read about it.  That hedge created a separate garden room, and it added more personality to the garden.

View of the hornbeam hedge a year after it was installed.

So there you have it. That’s how I found a Mary statue, that I thought was a Jesus statue, that ended up the focal point for our green, white, and grey garden. Happy gardening!

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