MEMORY GARDENS

MEMORY GARDENS: Botanical Tributes to Celebrate our Loved Ones

TFMemory2_LKO CoverPlanting 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. That is something 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.

Stay tuned …. MEMORY GARDENS: BOTANICAL TRIBUTES TO CELEBRATE OUR LOVED ONES is slated for ebook publication next month!

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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.

a2z_z

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: ‘O’ is for OREGANO

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.

a2z_o

A to Z: ‘O’ is for OREGANO

We plant a memory garden as a tribute to our loved ones that have passed. And who doesn’t feel sadness when we remember the ones no longer in our lives? They symbolism for Oregano is ‘will banish sadness’, perfect for a memory garden.

OREGANO – Will Banish Sadness

oreganoCommon Name:                      OREGANO

Botanical Name:                      Origananum vulgare

Height:                                    2 ½’

USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 5-9

Sun requirements:                   Full sun

Water Needs:                           Average watering

A to Z: ‘D’ is for DAISY

a2z_dIt’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.

daisyA to Z: ‘D’ is for DAISY

There are a lot of meanings for Daisy. This versatile flower could fit many people you’d like to commemorate in a memory garden. There are also many daisies in the botanical world. Your local nursery should have at least one or two available for you.

DAISY (White) – Innocence, Loyal Love, I’ll Never tell, Purity, Beauty
Common Name:                      DAISY (Oxeye Daisy)
Botanical Name:                      Leucanthemum vlugare
Height:                                       to 2’
USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 3-9
Sun requirements:                   Full sun
Water Needs:                           Weekly during dry spells

Common Name:                      DAISY (Shasta Daisy)
Botanical Name:                      Leucanthemum maximum
(Resembles Oxeye Daisy, larger flower size to 4”)
Height:                                      ­­­­to 6 ½’
USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones: Hardy to Zone 6
Sun requirements:                   Full sun
Water Needs:                           Prefers moist soil

Common Name:                      DAISY (English Daisy)
Botanical Name:                      Bellis perennis
Height:                                      ­­­­­­­­8″
USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones: Hardy to Zone 4
Sun requirements:                   Full sun to semi-shade
Water Needs:                           Prefers moist soil

Common Name:                      DAISY (Marguerite Daisy)
Botanical Name:                      Argyranthemum
Height:                                      18” – 36”
USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 8-11
Sun requirements:                   Full sun to partial shade
Water Needs:                           Moderate water

Common Name:                      DAISY (Mexican Daisy)
Botanical Name:                      Erigeron
Height:                                      6” – 12”
USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 6-9
Sun requirements:                   Full sun
Water Needs:                           Drought tolerant – Don’t overwater

Common Name:                      DAISY (Trailing African Daisy)
Botanical Name:                      Osteospermum
Height:                                      18” – 24”
USDA Hardiness Zone:          Zones 8-11
Sun requirements:                   Full sun – Tolerates partial shade in very hot climates
Water Needs:                            Regular water – Avoid drying out.

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