If you are grieving, one of the best things to do is to touch the earth. You can focus on planting a simple garden to remember a beloved family member who has passed on to the other side. It is a living tribute to their lives as well as giving you a place to honour and remember them in. This space can be as large or small as you like.
Perhaps you can plan your garden with others who also loved this amazing being. If you have a window facing onto your yard you can plant the memorial garden where you can view it from inside sitting in your comfortable chair. It could be a shrine in the corner of your property or a purposeful indigenous woodland area. Ashes can be buried providing nutrients furthering the cycle of life. There are also specific plants that denote remembrance such as forget me nots or bleeding hearts.
Trees are powerful markers of time and life passing as we can see their beautiful strength and size growing as each year. As the tree grows our healing process continues – letting go of our grief surrounding our loved ones be it a dear pet, a friend or a parent. Yews symbolize immortality and oak trees symbolize strength. Dogwoods, dwarf magnolia, and weeping mulberries are more reasonable in size for smaller gardens. Redbuds are wonderful spring flowerers.
Trellis: Protective and secretive trellises could be soothing when covered in honeysuckle, ivies, passionflowers or clematises. Create a tranquil private spot for contemplation and communication time with your loved one.
Flower choices: What was the person’s favorite colors, scents or seasons? If you do not have room for a tree choose a focus plant such as a rosebush. Did they love a particular type of flower? There are also plant names that could be similar to your friends name so you could research that if you like ie. browned susans, lily, veronica, and sweet william.
Accessories: Some ideas you may want to think about: a dedication stone (you can customize this to order) or plaque, a bench or seat. What will the bench be made of? Metal or wood – choose a bench that reflects your loved one. Water features are soothing to sit near. You can buy simple garden statues to immortalize their love of cats or a birdbath, birdhouse of bird feeder for friends who loved birds. If they were religious you could choose a saint or an angel statue.
There are many wonderful memorial plants to choose from but make sure you are planting the correct plant for the amount of sunlight your balcony or garden landscape receives. Poppies symbolize rest or eternal sleep but are also good for war heroes. Rosemary stands for memory. If it was a child you can plant daisies for innocent or white lilies for purity. Sweetheart roses for a life partner. Did they like chocolate? You could plant the chocolate columbine or daisy or even edible chocolate mint! If they loved movies you could plant Popcorn Cassia which smells like fresh cooked buttered popcorn.
Where they whimsical? Did they like to party? Choose delicate flowers or bright flowers accordingly. Whatever you choose make sure the plants are meaningful to you in some way. Perhaps if the person who passed on was a gardener you could transplant some of their beloved flowers into your yard if this is appropriate.
Photos via: KimCarpenter NJ