Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fiacre in the garden

St. Fiacre is the patron saint of gardeners.* He was an Irish monk from the 7th century AD. He had an extensive knowledge of healing herbs, and throngs of admirers came to learn from him. However, Fiacre wanted to be left alone and fled to France to pursue peace and quiet. St. Faro, the bishop of Meaux, granted Fiacre land for a hermitage near a spring, and said that Fiacre could have as much land as he could entrench in one day. The next day, Fiacre dragged his spade behind him to claim the land he wanted. Everywhere his spade touched, the land was entrenched as if a crew of workers had dug up shrubs and overturned the earth.

When the bishop witnessed the creation of Fiacre’s garden spot, he proclaimed it a miracle. However, a local woman claimed Fiacre used sorcery. While the legend says that henceforth Fiacre excluded all women from his monastery on pain of infirmity to limb, exclusion of women from monasteries was standard practice among the Irish foundations.

I’m thinking of putting a St. Fiacre statue in my garden** (with the idea that, after he died, Fiacre got over his alleged grudge against women). St. Frances and Blessed Virgin Mary statues abound in gardens, and while I’m initially inclined to go with a Mary statue, I’d like something distinctively evocative of living plants and creatures. In Robert Lawson’s Rabbit Hill, the humans place a statue of St. Frances in the garden for the bunnies along with a sign that says, “There is enough for all.” (Yes, in literature, bunnies can read.) However, the St. Fiacre statues often have bunnies sitting by the feet. I like bunnies almost as much as I like bats.

Speaking of things I don’t want sitting by my feet:



In the latest chapter of the War on Slugs, I’ve placed copper tape around the callalilies. The slugs are supposed to get enough of an electric shock that they’ll be repelled and slither away. If it works, copper tape seems to be the humane route to go. Previously, I tried to get the slugs so drunk on cheap beer that they’d just fall into the beer bowl and drown, but I think they just leaned over the sides and took little sips before chomping down on the fresh, crunchy bar-snacks.

*He is also the patron saint of cab-drivers because the Hotel de St. Fiacre in 17th century Paris hired out coaches, and people referred to the coaches as “fiacres.”

**Bede says we need to save our money, so I'm not adding statuary to our garden any time soon... unless
Yorkshire Pudding sends me a gnome with the express purpose of harassing slugs. Yikes.

8 comments:

HipWriterMama said...

Yay! You're back! You grow callalillies? Wow. I have never seen them in gardens over here. Pictures please when they bloom.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

HipWriterMama: The callalilies came with the house. Pretty cool, I think. They're starting to bloom now, but the slugs have already taken a few bites out of them. (Just say NO to slugs.) I'll post some photos when more callalilies unfurl, and (cross fingers) the copper tape has helped to keep them intact.

I'm tempted to stick a chocolate chip cookie into the soil and see if it grows. That's how lucky we are around here in the Puget Sound region.

limpy99 said...

St. Fiacre sounds liek the patron saint of eminent domain land seizures.

Lone Star Ma said...

Bunny saints rock.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Limpy99: It's all in the interpretation, isn't it!

LSM: You'd like Melangell, too, then. She's my mom's special saint.

cloudscome said...

*chuckles* Those dog-gone slugs drive me crazy too! Mine have come to expect their beer and I am afraid they will start pounding on the door demanding it any day now.

I also have a ground hog that lives under the shed. I tried putting human hair (from the boy's hair cuts) in her doorway, giving her JuicyFruit gum and throwing rocks at her, but so far she is not impressed. She munches on my hosta plants and has a tunnel to the front porch. Last year she had a boyfriend and raised a family. Any ideas of how to send her packing?

Thanks for joining my Sunday Garden Stroll meme!

diana said...

There are a few more garden related saints (for people like me, who need all the help I can get):

St. Patrick, sanctifier of nature to quicken devotion to God,
St. Colomban, ever alert to find God in the woods and fields,
St. Fiacre, re-opener of the world to the outpouring of
Divine healing love through garden herbs and flowers,
St. Rose of Lima, to whom the boy Jesus and his Mother were
present in the garden,
St. Isidore, assisted by Mary's angels in plowing the soil to feed
the hungry,
St. Phocas, digger of earth in the hope of the Resurrection,
St. Dorothy, bestower on earth of heavenly flowers and fruits,
St. Bernard, searcher of flowers for likenesses of Jesus and Mary,
St. Anselm, theologian of Our Lady's Queenship of redeemed nature,
St. Francis de Sales, quickener of spiritual life and growth
through the discernment of their mirroring in nature's unfolding,
St. John of the Cross, poet of the spiritual countryside
of the soul's mystical journey of love,
St. Louis de Montfort, nurtured in the spiritual paradise of Mary,
St. Theresa, showerer on earth of roses of heavenly love and grace,
St. Dominic, missionary of the power of the Rosary,
St. John Eudes, drawn by union with the light Christ into the Heaven
of the Trinity,
St. John Chrysostom, beholder of resplendent earth as the radiance
of God's face,
St. Athanasius, dweller in heaven on earth,
St. Bonaventure, proclaimer of the fullness of Mary's blessed and
immaculate sharing and glorifying magnification of God's creating,
saving and renewing power,
St. Joseph, patron of all who labor for the building of God's Kingdom,
St. John, prophet of the descent of the Heavenly Jerusalem

Okay, some of those are a stretch, and I have to say I got this from Mary's Garden website.
It would be be nice to have a St Dorothy statue since she seems to be as fitting....I should post this on the blog...

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Diana: What a great list of saints! Thanks. I agree with you on the Dorothy statue. I'll keep a lookout.