Creating a Memorial Garden
By Ruth Kongaika
Honor them with flowers they loved or that have special
If you want to make a memorial garden, choose flowers
and plants that you know the person you are honoring
enjoyed. Did they love pansies, tulips, daffodils,
daisies, or geraniums?
Consider the person's favorite colors when choosing the
flowers you use in the garden. Also, plants that have
specific meanings, such as rosemary (remembrance),
forget-me-nots (memories), yellow tulips (friendship),
poppies (rest or eternal sleep) or pink carnations (I'll
never forget you).
A memorial for a young child or baby could include white
lilies (purity) or daisies (innocence), baby's breath
(gypsophila) or Sweet Dreams coreopsis rosea (small
If the deceased is a spouse, roses are very appropriate.
If you decide to plant a tree as a memorial, plant an
oak (strength) or yew (immortality). Both of these trees
can grow quite large, so make sure there is enough space
for them to grow throughout the years.
Consider their personality
Small figurines, ceramic animals or stones carved with
appropriate sayings can be place strategically around
the garden. Shrubs, trees, vines, and flowers can all be
used to decorate the available space.
You could include a small pond or birdbath. If the
person had a great sense of humor, you could also put in
a small whimsical statue.
For a veteran or war hero, you could plant a red, white
and blue garden. This could include daylilies, red
poppies, white phlox and peonies, and blue Siberian
irises or blue Jacob's ladder (polemonium). Not too many
flowers are true blue, so you may need to use a dark
purple variety of delphiniums or campanulas.
Other appropriate plants for a patriot would be a
'Peace' rose, 'Freedom" alstroemeria, "Patriot' hosta,
'Over in Gloryland' Siberian iris.
Other popular flower choices for memorials could include
a 'gentle shepherd' daylily, 'guardian angel' hosta, or
'remember me' hosta.
Planning your garden
Consider the rules of proportion when you plan your
garden. Plants that grow taller need to be in back with
the smaller ones in front. Of course, remember that it
is the fact that the garden was planted from the heart
that makes it a memorial garden. Do not fuss too much
about the rules or design. Do what is most meaningful
for you and your loved one.
A Place to ponder
It would be good to include a bench for yourself and
visitors to sit on and enjoy the garden. Climbing vines
such as honeysuckles and ivies can create a secluded
spot for remembering and contemplation.
Even if you live in an apartment, or do not have room
for a garden, you can still create a memorial by tying a
colorful ribbon around a pot of rosemary and placing it
on your deck or windowsill. Remember that when winter
comes, you may need to move some of your plants indoors.
The plants you choose to include in the garden need to
do well in the soil, sun or shade and other conditions
where you have decided to create your memorial
garden.Consider the amount of water that is available
Helping and healing
Consider having other family members or friends help you
to make the memorial garden. This can help all concerned
to heal as they are involved in the planning, planting
and caring for the garden.