How Does My Garden Grow? With Chimes...No Cockles!

 Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a Row
(most common modern version...oldest version printed in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book c. 1744)
Sounds pretty innocent...right? 
 I've always thought so and have quoted it to myself while tending my garden.
Not So...innocent that is...if you choose to believe one of the 1744 British interpretations.
It seems the rhyme is connected to Mary, Queen of Scotts, with
"how does your garden grow" referring to her reign over her realm.
"Silver Bells" referring to cathedral bells,
and "cockle shells" insinuating that her husband was unfaithful to her.
"Pretty maids all in a row" referred to her ladies-in waiting...'The Four Maries".
Poor Mary...as if being locked in a Tower and losing her 'Crownless Head' was not enough of a historical burden to bear forever.
Bless her heart, having to put up with a Cockled husband...actually several of them.
(History of Mary Queen of Scots on Wikipedia)
I do like the 'Pretty maids all in a row'.  That's what I call my Squash Plants.
Aren't they pretty...planted all in a row in the Veggie Garden Box?
They are blooming!  Maiden Squashes on the way...yay!
Do you think I'll have trouble with those pesky squash bugs?
I hope not, but to help, I planted rows of 'Pretty Maiden Marigolds'.
And just for extra measure...a Blue Dragonfly Chime!
Dragon Flies love squash bugs!
Linking To:
Smiling Sally's BLUE MONDAY


  1. Beautiful pictures, and I will never think of Mary Mary Quite Contrary the same again.

  2. I'd heard that interpretation before, but I've always said "Mistress Mary..." I wondered how squash would do in a container garden -- apparently quite well!
    I like your blue wind chimes -- I'm sure the dragonfly will do his job on the bugs!

  3. Hello Sue,

    I do hope that blue dragonfly is able to chomp some bugs, but he doesn't look too energetic! LOL

    Thanks for sharing your blue today.

    Happy Blue Monday!

  4. I Always love a bit of history thrown into a garden. Yours is lovely. How nice the maidens are! xo Jenny

  5. It's a beautiful post. Interesting info. thanks for sharing. I love your wind chimes. Very pretty Blues.
    I am following you now. I am a neighbor in DFW.
    Come by and see me.
    Have a good week,

  6. I learn so much from blogging, never knew the meaning of that poem-what a life Mary had. I do like your plants all in a row--looks like they are doing great this year. It's a pretty wind chime you have too.

  7. Hey Sue! It is always my pleasure to visit you here. You are a great teacher showing us how this poem breaks down. Good info and very interesting! Having wealth and fame sure doesn't make life rosy always does it? Have a great week and I enjoyed your Blue Monday share. Hugs, Anne

  8. I meant to tell you that you have a lovely garden! That squash photographs so beautifully! Thank you for sharing.

  9. Love the interpretation of Mary Mary...And your flowers are lovely. The blue Statice in your first photo reminded me that I need to buy some of that for my garden!!
    The dragonfly windchime is very pretty!
    Happy Blue Monday!

  10. interesting how so many children rhymes have historical connections. Your pictures are lovely and I'm sure the chimes sound summery


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