St. Mary’s gets blessing for planting new garden


An ugly patch of weeds and dead palms adjacent to St. Mary, Star of the Sea’s Stella Maris Hall has been turned into a colorful garden. The transition took less than $50 and a bit of hard work by several volunteers.

The instigator was parishioner Phyllis McGuire.

“Each time you walked from the office to the hall, you passed this unsightly plot of dried-up plants,” she says. “I wanted to do something to change it.”

Her thought: a garden honoring Mary.

The focus of the garden is a statue of Mary. Mary Mignano, McGuire’s mother, donated it.

“The statue had been in her home since she was a newlywed, and she brought it with her when the family moved to Longboat Key,” McGuire says.

Volunteer Bob Steichen refurbished the statue and base; the concrete blocks were donated by Bill and Anne Kelley and were set up by Jim McGuire. The cactus plants came from McGuire’s garden, and the bright, colored vincas were bought at a local nursery.

McGuire’s next project is to add more beauty to the memorial garden located on the church grounds.

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