I wish I would have taken a "before" photo. The area was completely covered in weeds - some taller than my kids. But with the help of Sweet Potato and Honey Bunches, we cleared the area, laid the black paper and covered it in red mulch. I was able to purchase two flowering shrubs and one perennial. The other pots of flowers we already had, including one called Job's Tears. Our hope is that we can harvest the seeds from this plant in the fall to make Rosaries. There are two more perennials I would like to plant. I was told by our local nursery that they will go on sale in another week. Those will be all I add to the garden this year. Next season, I plan to add herbs.
According to the book Mary's Flowers: Gardens, Legends, & Meditations,
"Early Christians kept memories of Mary alive through legends. They saw her attributes in flowers and herbs that grew around them and named them after her. Likening Mary to the "garden enclosed" of the Song of Solomon, they envisioned her in a garden, sometimes called a Paradise Garden, and dedicated gardens to her. These special gardens were filled with the flowers and herbs that reminded them of her."
Last night after the kids went to bed, I sat on my steps and just gazed upon my garden. It felt really good to work hard (and sweat alot I did!) and to get my hands really dirty. I felt peaceful and relaxed. Without sounding overly prideful, I am proud of my efforts and those of my kids. They have already asked if we can pray our Rosary in front of the garden tonight. I think that would be a lovely gesture and one that would make our Blessed Mother smile.