Prayer Garden Pavers

With the coming of good weather and on the threshold of the month of May, the memorial prayer pavers for our Marian garden will be installed this week. 

Pavers are still available, of course. To save on shipping costs, we generally wait until we can place the order for at least ten.


The Exciting Easter Season

Wow, last weekend was a powerhouse of the Holy Spirit at Holy Cross. Six baptisms, a marriage convalidation, the final Religious Education session for this year's confirmandi and of course, our weekend masses. We eagerly  look forward to our First Eucharists and Confirmation.


Baptisms are joyful!


Some of the confirmandi and the retreat team teen leaders

IMG_2165Gathering for a blessing at the Marian Shrine

Construction Quiet, Garden Growing

GardenerEverywhere on the campus, our garden continues to grow.  Francisco has transplanted many, many of the flowers, shrubs and bulbs that were growing around the church to the front of the school and the perimeter of the playground. They are doing remarkable well. Take some time to enjoy them. The plantings along the school and around the gymatorium have also prospered this year. 

My own garden has its successes and failures. The hot, wet, cold weather has given all my tomato plants a bit of trouble, but they are keeping on and I've already enjoyed a small treat or two from the earliest ripening fruits. No wonder many gardeners advise to plant more than you think you will harvest.

I was able to photograph a black swallowtail caterpillar beginning to pupate today. I had planted fennel and dill in the garden to invite them and yesterday was delighted to see several of them on the plants. When I returned with camera today, I could find only one. With so many birds in and out of the yard, I'm sorry to think they became bird food.


In approximate order left to right, top to bottom:

Cherry tomatoes, a couple of beefsteak ripening, oregano plant, red runner bean blooms, corn stalk beginning, mullein, Meyer lemon, fennel with pupating swallowtail (find it!), indigo rose tomatoes, pulmonaria, onion crop, bedding plants along with Julia Child and John Paul II roses, pot watermelon, "fire" lettuce, cleome everywhere, New Dawn rose, pineapple sage, red poppies, three "Lazy Housewife" beans, Lemon marigolds and petunias, ? monarda, spaghetti squash vine, Shrimp plant, Elephant Ears, Love in a Mist, Hosta spikes, pupating Swallowtail, planter filled with three plants from the Holy Cross Plant Sale.


Fall Flowers

A Rosemary which survived transplanting and a good cutting back earlier this year

Zinnias escaped powdery mildew this year

John Paul II Rose Surprises With More Blooms
Walker's Low Nepeta has done well just about everywhere it is planted

Sky Pencil Boxwood finally showing its stuff after 6 years!

Nothing's worse than a Wisteria looking for something to latch onto. The new fence has so far eluded its grasp

This akebia was cut back to make room for the new fence, but has already started reaching for the sky. Do you spot the Holy Cross?

Perennial Asters are an aggressive spreader

Autumn Sedum is usually covered with bees.

Meantime Behind All Those Mounds of Earth

DSCN1275They say you always keep a spot in your heart for the music and the garden flowers you grew up with. Some of grandfather's favorites are here: marigolds and petunias. These particular marigolds were moved from in front of the church earlier this year. They had been hardy self-sowers for three successive years. The petunias are "Laura Bush," a self-sowing variety back for the third year as well. Balsam, Black-Eyed Susan and Nepeta are some of the plants in the background. Portulaca, a dependable leftover from the Youth Group Plant Sale prospers in the foreground.


A Homegrown New Jersey Tomato - Nothing Quite Like It !


New Jersey Tomato
A Tomato Parable
Finally! For a few years, I've been trying to grow tomatoes with varying degrees of success. In Howell, I had abundant tomatoes and flourishing basil, but also bunnies, groundhogs and deer, so I wasn't the one who got to enjoy most of the harvest!


My tomato plants in Rumson have not fared well from year to year despite following all kinds of recommendations and tips for preventing diseases which they seem quite susceptible to. Buy the right kind, water more, water less, water've heard all the well meaning advice. Every fall I decide they were too much trouble and too disappointing, only to be lured into trying again by all the tomato seedlings at the garden center and the beautiful pictures in catalogs. Add to that the tasteless condition of most of them available in the supermarket alongside the memories of what real tomatoes taste like and I guess it's no surprise that I'm suckered in every Spring.

This year for the first time it looks like I will have quite a few beefsteak (actually they are Mortgage Liters)  tomatoes worthy of the name! My first one was so delicious, juicy, sweet and red that I had to share a picture. And I was so excited when I cut into it that I didn't go outside to cut any basil, just good, fresh extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of salt.  Mmm.

More on the vine, but they're not yet quite ripe and I've learned the hard way to not count my tomatoes until they are cut up and in a salad!

Jesus Calming the Storm

What do you think about the possibility of an exterior statue/shrine of Jesus Calming the Storm at Sea? It could be located toward the East of the Prayer Garden Plaza and possibly face Ward Avenue and the Ocean!

They are not that common, at least images of them on the Internet aren't. A rather famous statue on Corpus Christi, Texas and another in a cemetery pond in Gainesville, GA are the only sizeable ones I can find. Likely it would need to be designed/commissioned.

With enough donor interest, I think it would contribute a wonderfully consoling message to the community and a needed spiritual note to the many rebuildng efforts already underway. Let us know what you think in the Parish Office or by email to the webmaster at Holy Cross' webpage.

Corpus Christi
Jesus Calming the Sea at Corpus Christi Bay


Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption

Celebrates_christians_187009Tonight we had music in the chapel for the first time and it was great! Our trusty Clavinova doesn't take up too much physical space and sounds perfect without extra amplification. 

What better way to inaugurate sacred music in the chapel than on a feast of Mary.

We also blessed some boxwood basil, rosemary and marigolds in honor of the Virgin Mary. There is also a tradition of blessing the sea and collecting some of its water for blessing the home or swimming in the blessed waters.

Tomorrow's mass is at 9 AM in the chapel. The solemnity is a holy day of obligation.



Transplanted Garden Around Holy Cross School

Thanks to Francisco for relocating many of our bulbs, perennials and shrubs from around the church and campus to the front of Holy Cross School on Rumson. It looks quite beautiful. Most of the plants are several years old, so the plantings also look mature.

Additional transplants have been placed just about everywhere: along the West side of the school and surrounding the chapel.

The terrible condition of the roof gutters prevented many plantings there, since the sheets of water cascading onto the ground destroyed plants and washed away mulch. Now that the gutters have been repaired and we don't anticipate any scaffolds along the front of the school anytime soon, we can plant the stretch along Rumson Road properly.

Fr. Manning is taking care of the microdrip irrigation for the garden, as there are no sprinklers on the South side of the campus. 

All in all, minimal cost, maximal beauty! Hopefully everything will take root and bloom for many years.

Lets pray for a summer of temperate weather, not only for our gardens, but for ourselves!


Spring Is Coming!

DSCN0522I was gently reminded yesterday that "we need to move some plants." That's certainly true.

Many of the places we have planted perennials over the last years will need to be disturbed for the church construction. Earlier in the season, all the heritage roses in harm's way were pruned back to the ground in preparation for being transplanted. All plantings behind the church bordering the parish field will need to be moved or disposed of. Some of the many burning bushes were not in particularly good condition, but the hydrangeas, half dozen heritage rose bushes, dozens of hosta, pulmonaria, coreopsis, coneflowers, sedum, hyssop and others were quite happy and proliferating well. It will be relatively easy to move some of them, but others look like a challenge. One of the "Home Run" roses I planted when I first arrived has quite a well developed set of roots. 

All the plantings along the side door of the rectory near the church will also need to be relocated - a witch hazel or two, hundreds of Stella d'Oro daylillies, a Julia Child rosebush along with several others heirloom varieties. All the rose bushes and clematis around the air conditioning units for the church will also be dug. 

Some of the trees around the church are overgrown and many are in sad shape after the storms, but a holly or two may be rescued. The perennial border of evergreens and others alongside the handicapped ramp will also need to be moved. 


The plantings in the two islands between the large and small parking lots need to go too, I think. There are dozens of day lillies, several species of heritage roses, and the two ornamental trees needing new places to grow. Many of the other plants like California poppies, Blanket flowers and others are so easy to resow that they can be sacrificed if necessary.

vizsla carrying dog bed
Someone is ready to move!


Lots of digging! Any ideas?Perhaps some time after the groundbreaking, we could organize a
dig (or two) to help move some of the plants. Some will move easily with a trowel, others will take some good work with a shovel. If we pot some of them up, they might even help us raise some funds for the church project? 

Let me know if you have any good ideas, or if you would be willing to help us dig up some plants when we make plans. Thanks!

Church Project Liturgical Appointments: Statues

At a meeting last evening, we discussed the immediate goal of determining the number, identity and compositional material for statues of the Saints in the renovated Church.

There are several interior and exterior niches, as well as an outdoor pedestal for potential locations for statues of the saints, now and in the future. Except for the statue in the oval garden, I've highlighted them on the architectural drawings: two on the Ward Avenue facade, one on the West facade, one on a pedestal in the oval garden, one in the entryway balcony, four across the devotional shrines across the front of transept.


A Sub Committee was formed to explore the possibility whether to determine a spiritual theme underlying the choice of which saints or an eclectic mix.

There was consensus to proceed with the acquisition of an ambo from a church in Philadelphia which has been closed, depending on costs additional to the modification and transportation of the piece.

Mary Garden
Marian Garden (partial view)