Everyday flowers in our churchyard linked to St Mary

The rose has always been the symbol of ‘Our Lady’, sometimes known as ‘The mystic rose’. White is the colour of purity, and a white rose would symbolise the purity of the Virgin Mary. Red symbolises passion. The red rose symbolises a mother’s compassion for the suffering of her son. It was said that roses adorned the tomb of the Virgin Mary.

The cheerful pansy, or ‘Our Lady’s delight’ is also known as ‘The Trinity flower’. The three petals of the flower symbolise the Virgin Mary as the daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son, and the spouse of The Holy Spirit.

The common English daisy with its white petals is a symbol of patience, simplicity and purity. Legend has it that when the child Jesus first cut his hand, his blood spilt on the daisy. His mother Mary knew of the prophesy of the Passion, and grieved. The daisies heard her prayer and turned red, mirroring what was to come. The daisy is seen as a reminder of a mother’s deep compassion.

The red poppy is the symbol of Christ’s blood on the cross. By association to this flower, we also think of the fields of Flanders, and those who have shed their blood in the defence of others.

The lily of the valley was the plant that was said to have grown where Mary wept. In the middle ages, where there was an outdoor shrine to the Virgin Mary, lily of the valley often grew by her feet.

The snowdrop, sometimes called Candlemas bells were often grown around medieval monasteries as a symbol of purity. Legend has it, these flowers were blooming at Candelmas when Mary took Jesus to the temple to be presented.

Forget-me-nots grow in spring, and are the symbol of Our Lady’s eyes. Legend has it, that the Christ child was sitting on Mary’s lap looking into her eyes. He wished that future generations could see them. He touched the earth, and the forget-me-not flower sprang up in memory of Mary.

There are many stories about our common native flowers, and if we stop and reflect on their associations, we can connect with the most beautiful energy, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sue Feltham