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Creating a Memorial Garden
By Ruth Kongaika

Honor them with flowers they loved or that have special meaning

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 roses).

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.

Memorial Flowers

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.

Small spaces

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.

Larger spaces

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 also.

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.


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