Jeanette and Doug Steinbach have shaped their Tillamook County garden as a rosary.
TILLAMOOK — Jeanette and Doug Steinbach began a devotion to the rosary when they were children. And now the couple have fashioned their rural Tillamook County garden into a rosary of plant and stone.
The circular garden, about 50 feet in diameter, includes a circuit of paving stones set up as beads for Hail Marys. Larger stones signify the Our Fathers. A cross made of stones and a statue of Mary stand at the center.
Plants are colored red, white, purple and yellow to signify the mysteries of the rosary. The Steinbachs have planted eight roses so far, each in memory of a loved one.
Eight more roses are forthcoming.
The Steinbachs dedicated their garden to their parents.
"Mother Mary symbolizes for us someone who with total faith accepted the path God had for her," Jeanette says. "We aspire to do that."
Jeanette says she has received consolation from Mary, especially during hard times. The couple prays in their garden every day. Their grandson, who did not have a religious upbringing, runs to the statue of Mary and hugs it, saying, "Look, Grandma it's Jesus' mother." Family, friends and parishioners ask to walk the path of prayer.
The Steinbachs are considering opening it up to the wider community some day, especially to youth groups.
Neighbors were curious when they saw the garden in construction phase. One man thought it was an alien crop circle at first, but then Doug explained. Most recognized it as a rosary.
Jeanette hopes the garden matures into "a place to retreat for prayer and a chance to be at one with God's nature."