Getting Started-Create a Memory Garden

23 Dec

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?     

 Getting Started 

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: 

 outdoor speakers   

rain chimes

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       

Daisies- innocence     

 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 

Planting Pointers 

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


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