St. John the Evangelist parishioners had been looking for a little sunshine for weeks as the Washington, D.C. metro area experienced a record fifteen-day streak of rainy days at the end of April and the beginning of May 2016. An array of beautiful flowers in the Mary Garden, located betweent the entrances to the Kennedy Room level of the Main Church, brightens the gloom, however. Each of the plants in the garden has a special significance in relation to Mary and much thought has gone into the selection of plants to ensure that the garden will have something beautiful to offer throughout the year. Brochures in a weather-proof box to the left of the Mary Garden describe each of the plantings in the garden and give information on how to pray the Rosary.
Created as a gift of the Sgarlata family as a beautiful tribute to the memory of their parents, Joseph and Caroline Sgarlata, the Mary Garden offers a quiet place to meditate and pray while gazing upon the beauty that only God can create. Snowdrops, Veronica Speedwell, Hellebores, Pansies, Peonies, Iris, Marigolds, Madonna Lilies, Roses, Lavender, Lily of the Valley, Dianthus, Mary's Hair grass, Mary's Star daffodils, and Red Bud and Almond Trees provide a feast for the eyes and delight the sense of smell. They provide the setting for a peaceful haven in which we can contemplate Jesus through Mary. As Pope Francis reminds us that "Mary points to Jesus. She asks us to bear witness to Jesus, she constantly guides us to her son Jesus, because in him alone do we find salvation. He alone can change the water of our loneliness, difficulties and sin into the wine of encounter, joy and forgiveness. He alone." (Marian Day for the Year of Faith, October 13, 2013).