Sunday June 12, 2016

A secret garden in downtown Toronto dedicated to the Virgin Mary

Listen 11:37

Roses, lilies, lady's mantle: all have their place in the Mary Garden. 

For centuries, people have shown devotion to the Virgin Mary, and the idea of a divine mother, by tending to plants seen to have a connection with the mother of Jesus.

Some of the flowers and herbs are mentioned in the Bible; others have become associated with Mary over the years.

Step into a tiny Mary Garden in downtown Toronto - but watch your step. This place, at the home of Lauretta Santarossa, is a true sanctuary - and a kind of secret garden. You can only get there by way of a wooden staircase winding down from the second floor.

Lauretta finds the Adam-and-Eve connection irresistible: "We're all trying to get back into the garden," she says with a laugh. "We were thrown out and we're trying to get back in."

Lauretta Santarossa is the author of Bring Flowers of the Fairest - Mary Gardens for Everyone.