Traditionally, a memory garden honors those we’ve loved who are no longer with us.
It can be a generic type such as seen in church yards, cemeteries, and parks.
It can be about a specific person, pet or death in general.
Like funerals, memory gardens are for the living. They should bring comfort, a cherished remembrance, and perhaps even a smile. Some memory garden insights:
Commercial signs, stepping stones and statues are in abundance with angels and verses.
In the Eastern, Asian and African cultures, white often symbolizes mourning and death. In cold climates, white is the color of winter or the death of summer. A white themed garden can be beautiful, especially at night. White flowers are often very fragrant.
Black is traditional for mourning in Japan, Taiwan, European nations and the Americas.
Certain religions have specific colors for mourning – some being violet, black and white.
Objects portraying mourning infiltrated the nineteen century and symbolized broken life. The use of broken columns, draped urns, weeping willows and extinguished torches were seen in tombstones, literature, and gardens.
A mourning garden should not only be pretty, it should provide comfort. Comfort is in the eye of the beholder and yours should be exclusively what helps you.
Shade is cool and restful and is easier to enjoy during the heat. A sunny area is cheerful and might pick up your spirits.
A place to comfortably sit is as old as time in memory gardens; a simple rock beside a grave, a granite bench tombstone, and park benches. No need to think traditional, comfort is the only criteria if you want to linger any time at all.
There are millions of flowers that have people’s names or feelings. A daylily garden with names such as “Kindly Light”, “Little Heavenly Angel”, “Pure and Simple”, “So Lovely”, “Tender Love”, or others. Flowers could be your loved one’s favorite.
As with funerals and family customs, respect for those that are mourning is important. Regions, nationalities, religions all may differ but one thing for sure, respect stands out as the first custom considered by most. The things included in a memory garden should show respect to the one who has passed and to the survivors. If that means adding a hubcap from a ’54 Ford to the garden, so be it. If your loved one was all about bright colors, plant a garden full. If you want to bury a little box with Spot’s favorite chew toy, go for it.
Your memory garden is how you spell love.
From Winnie the Pooh:
Piglet, "How do you spell love?"
Pooh, "You don't spell it... you feel it."
The above daylily "Hey Mr. Blue" was planted in memory of my friend, David Johnson, who died in Vietnam.