Creating a Memory Garden
When a loved one passes, the road to healing is usually a long and challenging one. When you feel the time is right, planting a memory garden can provide healing and remembrance as a tribute to a deceased loved one. People generally send flowers and plants to funeral homes, which are symbolic of new life. In retrospect, first, a hole is dug, and then a plant is placed. Tending to the garden with water and sun and nurturing for its survival are key. When the time is right, a beautiful bloom emerges. Since, healing comes from within, a memory garden allows you time to feel your environment and accept life’s natural progression. People are often more depressed during the winter months, days are shorter and darkness seems eternal. This is the time that the earth needs to rest in order to produce an explosion of color, fragrance, and new life that comes with spring.
Here are some ideas to get you started
Set aside uninterrupted time to think about your space
Make a list of characteristics of your loved one
Write down a list of plants, bags of soil, mulch along with any other pieces you would need for your garden
You can work on your garden at any time once you have some basic materials
When do you want most of the plants to bloom? (at the time of your loved one’s passing to lift your spirits)
Location of the garden
Sunny or Shady Spot
Exposure to the wind
Will the garden be visible from your home?
Can the garden be incorporated into existing landscape?
How much time do you want to spend on maintenance?
Do you want perennials or seasonal annuals?
Could you relocate this garden to another house?
Clean the site of weeds and debris
Bring in rich soil -Your plants will live longer and have a better chance of surviving drought.
Planting should take place in the early Spring or Fall
Mulch should be at 3” depth
Water, water water (Make sure to water at a depth of 1” every third day until roots have been established)
Other options if you don’t have space for a garden, you can be creative and place plants on a deck, porch patio or balcony. Be creative and place plants in something other then a planter. Also, incorporating statuaries, memorabilia.
Pots –cinderblocks- bird bath-bird house-wagon- kitchen pots and pans-old boot- watering can.
In honoring a baby:
Consider a small garden that incorporates blue, pink or white flowers. Use flowers that produce small flower heads like forget-me-nots, babies breath or crocus bulbs. What was the theme of the nursery? What were the baby’s favorite songs? What were your dreams for him/her?
If honoring a golfer:
Plant an area strictly of dwarf mondo grass, which represents golf green
Create a sand trap using pea gravel
If honoring a music lover:
When planting grasses, the movement of wind on the blades of grass create a beautiful sound
If honoring a spouse ·
Plant a rose garden
Incorporate a wood structure for a climbing rose
Plant shrub roses at the base
Tree roses and miniature roses could be planted in pots.
The perimeter of the garden could be in the shape of a heart
In honoring a boater/fishermen
In an area of your garden, which is wet, place an old rusty anchor as a focal point.
Plant water loving plants like yellow flag iris, red twig dogwoods, bald cypress or weeping willow trees.
Incorporate large bounders for seating.
Some plants have specific meanings
Forget-me-nots mean memories
Rosemary means remembrance
Oak Tree means liberty
Lily means purity
Allspice shrub means compassion
Some plants incorporate a word in their name.
Royal star magnolias
Star of Bethlehem bulbs
Blue star ammonia
Remember not only are the blooms of ornamental value. Plants and their leaves have unique shapes, color and touch.
Eastern redbud trees and sweetheart ivy are heart shaped
Sweet gum trees are star-shaped
Ginkgo trees are fan shaped
Leaf-lambs ear have a very soft texture
Rosemary is fine and soft
Yucca plant is very coarse
Burning bush, nandina, barberry and burgundy are red plants
Maple trees are yellow fall color