Bible in the Backyard

One of my closest friends and myself took a little trip to Charleston for a long weekend last fall.  It is only about a 6 hour drive for us and plus we stopped in Savannah for a night, which is one of our favorite-est places ever.  While in Charleston, we visited the beautiful Middleton Place and Magnolia plantations.  Both are exceptionally beautiful and interesting and I cannot really choose a favorite.   Middleton has more defined gardens and is very well-kept and it is so easy to picture yourself as Scarlett O’Hara or Melanie Wilkes; the high walls of camellias and azaleas are really breathtaking. Magnolia’s gardens appear older, wilder and more secretive and deliciously mysterious;  I pictured myself more as Mary Lennox there.

15 foot high camellia trees (not in bloom :-( )

15 foot high camellia trees (not in bloom 😦 )

Middleton Place

Magnolia Plantation

Before you get into the tunnels of camellias there is a very prim little garden with a little loop of a walkway.  The beds are lined with moss-covered rocks and the whole area gives off the feeling of a woman who has aged gracefully.  When you walk in and go to the right there is a copy of Michaelangelo’s David on a pedestal in the center of a hedgerow trimmed into the Star of David.  If you look to the left there is a cross-shaped pedestal with a statue of the Virgin Mary.  Throughout the whole garden are various plants, flowers and trees mentioned in the Bible, labeled with a little plaque that states the verse in the Bible and the use for the plant.

The photo doesn’t do it justice at all–there are all kinds of flowers and trees around the garden, this cross and statue are in the middle of the path

I have seen Marian and Rosary gardens, but this was something new to me.  In Marian gardens, most of the flowers are not necessarily mentioned in the Bible, but are associated with Mary or with a virtue of Mary.  I have been wanting to make one for a few years now and have a nice sunny part of my yard that gets dappled afternoon shade that will be perfect for it.  Now, having seen the Bible garden at Magnolia, I want to up the ante in my planned Rosary garden.

We scored this really nice concrete statue at a thrift store.  She needs a little TLC, and she is heavy as all get out, but she is exactly what I was looking for. (Don’t mind the mess in the backyard, an extremely large patio is under construction)

She is about 3 feet tall!

She is about 3 feet tall!

I found this book used online and it is just chock full of goodies.

Being that this is Central Florida, late January is perfect for working out in the yard, and maybe if I start now I can actually finish by summer bloom time. I want to have a little pond to grow water plants, like bulrushes and papyrus; fruit trees–maybe a pomegranate tree, and either a path around it with stepping-stones for rosary beads or a regular path in the shape of a Celtic cross…not sure yet. I think that I may make wood plaques and burn the bible verses onto them with the plant names, too.

Finished project photos to follow sometime in the hopefully-not-too-distant future!

Any ideas on where to find some really unusual plants online that are a nice, decent size?

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