As you enjoy the garden, you may be struck primarily by the plants’ beautiful colors, textures and fragrance; however in addition to their aesthetic qualities, the plantings and design motifs have been carefully chosen for their symbolic meaning. The overall garden design conveys the sacredness of nature and celebrates the seasons of life. The plantings were selected so blooms and fragrance grace the garden each season.
Design and materials symbolism
The ancient Greeks believed that beauty is measured by symmetry, proportion and harmony, as reflected in the Golden Mean—ratios found in the Parthenon and classical architecture. Aspects of the Meditation Garden are proportioned to approximate the golden ratio: the Grand Portal is based on the golden rectangle and the Prayer Garden spirals are based on interlocking golden triangles. The figure eight design in the Camellia Garden represents eternity and everlasting life. In the Prayer Garden, the stone water sculpture represents mountains that are centers of energy, strength and connection to the earth, and water symbolizes renewal, cleansing and the source of life.
Christ Statue Garden:
- Iris (African and Siberian), the symbol of the Fleur-de-Lis (flower of the lily), represents light and hope; the three petals represent the Trinity
- Holly represents Christ’s crown of thorns
- St. John’s Wort, symbol of protection
Plants found throughout the garden:
- Camellias symbolize admiration, perfection and loveliness
- Dogwood symbolizes life, death and resurrection
- Oaks represent strength, glory and immortality
- Roses symbolize beauty, love, life, blood, death and rebirth
- Ivy symbolizes faithfulness and eternal life
- Ferns symbolize humility
- Lavender symbolizes Mary’s purity and virtue
- Rosemary represents love and fidelity