Planting A Memorial Garden – A Way To Work Through Grief
When my mother passed away seven years ago, one of the first things I did was create a garden with transplants from her garden. I found that working on that project truly did help work through my grief.
One of these days soon, my husband and I are hoping for a little hobby farm where we can retire, raise our own food and livestock and just relax after all these years. My thoughts now turn to setting aside some space where I can plant a memorial garden in honor of my mother, other family members and yes even Toby, the Wonder Dog. I look forward to having it as a place for reflection and peaceful solitude.
I yearn for quiet serenity already ~ having been raised in the city! My hope is that anyone who has lost a loved one can be inspired to work through the grief by planting a memorial garden.
Choose A Size And Location For Your Memorial Garden
A memorial garden can be any size you want. You can make one as small as a single tree or you can dedicate a large garden space for water features, seating, statuary, flowers, grasses, shrubs and even trees if you like. The main thing is that it should be a size that you can manage easily so that you can enjoy the maintenance of it as well as the garden.
Where you want your garden to be depends on how much space you have available, how much maintenance you want to perform and what kinds of plants you want. A quiet, secluded garden will allow you privacy for meditation. A garden with a special view will provide for hours of enjoyment. If there is a location that was special to your lost loved one, you could build your garden there, too.
Even if you live in an apartment, condo or rent your home, you can still create a beautiful memorial garden in honor of your loved one. Create an arrangement of containers with plants and flowers that your loved one enjoyed. Miniature roses, ivy, or herbs like rosemary are wonderful for this. Even a single potted plant or tree can become a special memento of a special person now gone.
The Memorial Gardens in West Bromwich.
Deciding What To Plant In Your Memorial Garden
When selecting plants for a memorial garden, think about your loved one’s favorite flowers. My mother loved roses and so do I. She loved her orchid trees too, so I’m planning to have at least two, maybe more. You might want to include your loved ones’ favorites too. Did they love flowering plants, evergreen shrubs, shade plants or ornamental grasses?
How about honoring their favorite fragrances or colors? Did they particularly enjoy the fragrance of lavender, roses or jasmine?
If red was his or her favorite color, try planting a garden consisting primarily of red flowers with a single accent color like white or yellow. For example, you could plant a mixed bed of red impatiens, geraniums, and roses mixed with white daisies or yellow daffodils. If you plan ahead to take into account blooming times, you could enjoy flowers all the way through to Fall.
What about plants with specific meanings, like forget-me-nots (memories), rosemary (remembrance), poppies (rest or eternal sleep), yellow tulips (friendship), or pink carnations (I’ll never forget you). Daisies stand for innocence and white lilies for purity; great choices for a baby or child’s memorial. Sweetheart roses are a sweet way to remember a spouse.
A red, white and blue garden would be a wonderful way to honor a fallen soldier. You can fill it with poppies, daylilies and lots of other beautiful selections.
What makes it a very special memorial garden and a tribute to our lost loved ones though, is that the planning, effort, choices and results that come from our hearts. Don’t worry whether your planting fits rules of design or will be appreciated by others. Do what is most meaningful for you.
Flowers And The Months Of The Year
Like with birthstones, there’s a flower or plant that represents each month. Is there an important birthday, anniversary, or other date that reminds you of your loved one?
Honor their memory by commemorating that month. Plant flowers that will help you remember the significance of that month. Here are some examples of flowers and the months they go with.
May: lilies of the valley
July: larkspurs, water lilies, and sweet pea
October: calendulas, dahlias
December: holly, poinsettia
Death Is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Memorial Garden Stones Are Thoughtful Ideas
I’m planning to have some birdbaths, a concrete bench and perhaps a fountain.
There are some lovely smaller memorials out there, so I may include one or more of them.
Memorial Garden, Omagh 2006
Decorating A Memorial Garden
If you’re planting a memorial garden in honor of someone who loved cats, why not include a small cat statue, catnip or cat mint? Mom had lots of cats, all the time. She loved having cats around her all the time. I think it would be cute to have a couple of cat statues in a garden I make for her.
I’m a bird lover myself so I want to add a birdbath (or several, LOL) and bird feeders to attract songbirds.
We can add a bench for visitors to sit and reflect or a water feature, such as a fountain or water garden, to create a soothing, comforting environment. Or put in an arbor or trellis, training honeysuckles, ivies, and other climbing vines to cover the structure to create a quiet, secluded spot for contemplation and remembering.
I’m truly looking forward to creating this garden of honor for Mom as well as for me.