A to Z: ‘Z’ is for ZINNIA

Today is ‘Z’, the last day of the A to Z blog challenge. We made it through the month, Hooray!

I’ve been blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Thanks for following along through the month.

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A to Z: ‘Z’ is for ZINNIA

Zinnias are my favorite memorial flower. They evoke memories of my brother every time I see them. He always loved growing zinnias. I remember a flower bed we had in Toledo, Ohio. He would have been in 4th grade then. There is still a picture or two floating around of him standing there so proud of his colorful crop. The last time I saw him, in August 1995, he was showing me around his property in Iowa – and again, was so proud of the bright zinnias gracing all of his walkways. Two weeks later he was gone. What I would do to be able to go back in time and spend another day with him, complementing him on his bountiful flowers and telling him how proud I was of him and what he had done with his life. But I can’t. So I just continue to grow my own zinnias, and think of him every time I see the bright shining petals reminding me of my love for my brother.

ZINNIA (Magenta) – Lasting Affection

ZINNIA (Mixed) – Thinking (or in memory) of an Absent Friend

ZINNA (Pink) – Lasting Affection

ZINNIA (Yellow) – Daily Remembrance

 

pat and zinnias Oct 2013 (2)Common Name:                      ZINNIA

Botanical Name:                      Zinnia

Height:                                    6” – 3’

USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 3-10

Sun requirements:                   Full sun

Water Needs:                           Moderate, don’t water overhead (subject to mildew in humid conditions)

A to Z: ‘Y’ is for YARROW

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Come join us all month for 26 different posts about Memory Gardens … and then, maybe plant your own tribute to remember your own special person.

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A to Z: ‘Y’ is for YARROW

The yarrow I planted in my memory garden last year survived its first Texas winter. It was one of the first plants to come back this spring and is already budded up and getting ready to flower. I was uncertain what it would do through this cold winter, but now that I see how hardy it was, I’ll be planting more this year. It’s so pretty – and the symbolism of healing and cure for heartache is perfect for a memory garden.

yarrowYARROW – Cure for heartache, Healing

Common Name:                      YARROW

Botanical Name:                      Achillea

Height:                                    10” – 5’, generally 36-48”

USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 3-10

Sun requirements:                   Full sun

Water Needs:                           Little water

A to Z: ‘X’ is for EXPERIENCING GRIEF

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Come join us all month for 26 different posts about Memory Gardens … and then, maybe plant your own tribute to remember your own special person.

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A to Z: ‘X’ is for EXPERIENCING GRIEF

stages of griefGrief over the loss of a loved one is a complicated and lengthy process. Entire books have been written on grief, so summing it up in one or two paragraphs doesn’t begin to cover the depths of this crippling emotion.

In How to Survive the Loss of a Love, three stages are talked about, that a grieving person goes through. The stages are distinct, yet often overlapping. They are: shock/denial/numbness, followed by fear/anger/depression, leading into understanding/acceptance/moving on.

The book also states:

“When an emotional injury takes place, the body begins a process as natural as the healing of a physical wound. Let the process happen. Trust the process. Surrender to it. Trust that nature will do the healing.”

Many steps to healing are outlined. Along with, ‘It’s OK to feel afraid, ‘It’s OK to feel anger’, ‘It’s OK to feel depressed’, are other positive steps towards healing. One of the steps is ‘Surround yourself with things that are alive’.

A memory garden is a way to surround yourself with things that are alive – a whole garden full of alive. The life in nature is soothing and reaffirming. When planted to specifically remember, it provides solace.

Experience your grief and feel your pain and emotions. Remember your loved one. And move on towards healing, knowing that the memories will live with you forever.

A to Z: ‘W’ is for WHY?

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Come join us all month for 26 different posts about Memory Gardens … and then, maybe plant your own tribute to remember your own special person.

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A to Z: ‘W’ is for WHY?

Planting a Memory Garden is a very special tribute to honor the memories of a loved one, or loved ones. It is a way to have a living reminder, where seeing the plant, tending to it and enjoying the beauty of flowers or fragrance brings your loved ones to mind.

Your Memory Garden can be anything you want it to be. It can be as simple as one plant or one stepping stone to honor someone’s memory. It may be a small corner with a few plants and possibly a piece of statuary. It can also be a more elaborate, full-blown garden with many plants, possibly a winding path and perhaps a small bench or seating area to sit and reflect. Your garden can be any size you wish it to be, according to the space and land you have available, and the number of plants you wish to maintain.

A Memory Garden can be a place of solace, a place to remember and heal. It is a gift you give yourself, a living legacy of memories and love.

A memory garden is just that, a place to recognize and honor memories – the memories of our loved ones.

A garden is a living memorial for us, the living. It does not bring them back. It does not remove our pain or grief, although for many it does help soothe and soften the grieving.

The planning, the gardening, the caring for living plants nurtures our souls. It is a way for us to say — Here. I place this plant, or this stepping stone, or this statuary, in your honor and memory. It is a symbol. It is a symbol of my love for you. I cherished you in my life. I miss you. I will remember you.

I believe they see our tributes. I am a firm believer in the afterlife, and that our loved ones still know what is happening in our lives. I have too many unexplained coincidences in my own life and experiences that confirms it for me. Does it help to believe my brother is here, that he is sending a message, that he is still involved in my life, yet I can’t see him? Some days, yes! It is comforting. Some days, absolutely NO! I want to see him, I want to give him a hug, I want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. But I can’t do that. And sometimes I still get angry about that.

Grief is not a static emotion. It is not a one-way path. We do not walk the pathway of grief, one step at a time, to the end, where we reach ‘non-grief’. We waver. We’re back and forth. Some days we’re good. Sometimes we drift along towards healing. We go on and live our lives. (We have to. We have no choice.) And other days, there will be one memory, one song, one fragrance, one thought – and we are suddenly back to a painful place that we thought we’d left behind.

Just remember this, on the path of grieving NO ONE’S path is the same! None of us will have a journey exactly like another’s. Don’t let anyone tell you what’s ‘normal’, or what’s ‘not normal’. Follow your own heart. Follow your own healing.

Yes, go on living. Definitely do so, as we are still alive. But we can do that while keeping the memories sacred and honored.

I take comfort in the actions of caring for zinnias, believing that my brother will know that when I tend to them, I’m thinking of him. When I tend to the red rose, I’m thinking of Grandma Jones. When I clip the carnations, I’m thinking of Grandpa Jones.

For many years, families were the caretakers of loved one’s gravesites. The whole day was spent there, often with picnics. A celebration was created around the loving care of the final resting places. Nowadays, some people still do this, but not many. I loved to take flowers to the graves of loved ones at Christmas. Now, I’m too far from any of them to be able to do that. So tending the plants in my backyard is a way of making that connection. And that I can do every day, not just on holidays and honoring special dates.

Why plant a memory garden? For our own healing. For our own souls. For a tribute to the ones we loved that no longer walk this earthly planet with us.

remembering

A to Z: ‘V’ is for VIRGINS BOWER

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Come join us all month for 26 different posts about Memory Gardens … and then, maybe plant your own tribute to remember your own special person.

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A to Z: ‘V’ is for VIRGINS BOWER

Ha! Bet it’s not what you thought when you saw this post, is it? I have to admit, I haven’t heard of this plant called Virgin’s Bower before I started researching symbolic meanings of plants. I’ve always known it as Clematis. But, hey, I needed a ‘V’ for the A to Z blog challenge, so this worked out well. A plant, even one as beautiful as this one, doesn’t even begin to make up for the loss of a child. And if you’ve lost a child, you certainly don’t need a plant in your memory garden to remember them by. They are with you in every moment, in every thought, in your every breath.

VIRGIN’S BOWER (Clematis) – Filial Love (Filial: referring to a son or daughter)

clematis

Common Name:                      VIRGIN’S BOWER

Botanical Name:                      Clematis

Height:                                    6’ – 25’, varies with species, generally 12’-15’

USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 4-8

Sun requirements:                   Roots need to be cool, tops in sun

Water Needs:                           Regular moisture

A to Z: ‘U’ is for U CAN DO IT!

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Come join us all month for 26 different posts about Memory Gardens … and then, maybe plant your own tribute to remember your own special person.

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A to Z: ‘U’ is for U CAN DO IT!

You can do it!

You can add a memory garden one step at a time. You don’t need to accomplish the whole undertaking in one weekend. Start out with a plan. What can you do? A whole plot? One plant? Determine what you can do and make a plan. That’s a start! Hooray! Celebrate your accomplishment. You’ve made a decision and a plan.

Then, decide what your next step is. Do you need to clear an area? Get a planter? Buy a brick to pain?

One step at a time, that’s all it takes. Celebrate your accomplishments and know that your loved ones recognize your love and your efforts to honor their memory.

See, you CAN do it!

you can do it_skyline

A to Z: ‘T’ is for THRIFT

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Come join us all month for 26 different posts about Memory Gardens … and then, maybe plant your own tribute to remember your own special person.

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A to Z: ‘T’ is for THRIFT

THRIFT (Armeria) – Sympathy

thrift

Common Name:                      THRIFT

Botanical Name:                      Armeria

Height:                                    8” – 16”

USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 3-8

Sun requirements:                   Full sun

Water Needs:                           Little to moderate water

A to Z: ‘S’ is for SAGE

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Come join us all month for 26 different posts about Memory Gardens … and then, maybe plant your own tribute to remember your own special person.

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A to Z: ‘S’ is for SAGE

SAGE – Wisdom, Great Respect, Alleviates Grief

SAGE (Blue) – I Think of You

SAGE (Red) – Always Yours

sage

Common Name:                      SAGE

Botanical Name:                      Salvia

Height:                                    1’ – 6’, S. officinalis (common sage) 2 ½’

USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones generally 5-9, Common broadleaf zones 4-11

Sun requirements:                   Most want full sun

Water Needs:                           Most like aridity

A to Z: ‘R’ is for ROSEMARY

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Come join us all month for 26 different posts about Memory Gardens … and then, maybe plant your own tribute to remember your own special person.

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A to Z: ‘R’ is for ROSEMARY

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet (circa 1600), he begins Act 4, Scene V with the passage “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance, …” Today, four hundred years later, people still reference ‘rosemary for remembrance’.

Rosemary is an excellent plant for a memory garden. Besides the significance of ‘remembrance’, it’s a plant that’s easy to care for. The fragrance is pleasing. And, even better, it’s a drought tolerant plant requiring little water once it’s established.

ROSEMARY – Remembrance, Fidelity and Loyalty

rosemaryCommon Name:                      ROSEMARY

Botanical Name:                      Rosmarinus officinalis

Height:                                       2’ – 6’

USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 7-10

Sun requirements:                   Full sun

Water Needs:                            Little to no water once established

A to Z: ‘Q’ is for QUEST FOR REMEMBRANCE

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about MEMORY GARDENS: botanical tributes to celebrate our loved ones. Most of my writing is about keeping memories alive, so a spring garden is a perfect match to celebrate loved ones memories. Come join us all month for 26 different posts about Memory Gardens … and then, maybe plant your own tribute to remember your own special person.
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A to Z: ‘Q’ is for QUEST FOR REMEMBRANCE

“Sometimes we can’t let go of memories, because they are constant reminders of a great story that we never expected to end.”
— Joffrey Lagura

What is a memory garden but a quest for remembrance? It’s a physical, tactile way to have plants as a tribute to our loved ones, guiding our mind to loving memories long past.
Sometimes we see the end coming. Oftentimes we don’t. But even though the end of the story is inevitable, we don’t want it to happen too soon, or to our loved ones. We continue the quest – remembering our special people, our minds keeping their memories alive.
vietnam wall

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