For decades, my husband and I have decorated our loved ones’ graves. We’d take the kids to the cemeteries and plant flowers. We always felt a special connection, keeping their memory alive. Then we decided to make memory gardens for loved ones in our backyard, so we could keep them closer. Here are easy, gardening tips to create inexpensive memory gardens or prayer gardens that can be made in any size yard, even on a patio or deck.
Gardening tip: Consider who to honor memory gardens. We lost two stillborn daughters. We’ve lost parents and grandparents. We divided memory gardens into two sections, one for babies and one for adults. You could make them pet memorial gardens too. We made ours in religious Catholic prayer gardens.
Gardening tip: Choose flowers, shrubs, trees or plants that remind you of your loved one. Perhaps they had a favorite flower? We chose a climbing rose bush with tiny sweetheart roses and a Baby’s Breath plant for our baby girls. Other nice plants for memory gardens are are pansies, snow drops, allysum, crocus, daisies, sunflowers, tulips, daffodils, lily-of-the-valley and lilac. Plant a dogwood to honor pet dogs. Plant catnip, lavender, or fragrant shrubs for kitties. If space is limited, use hanging plants. Birds love hanging fuchsia and Bleeding Heart.
Gardening tip: Create markers for memory gardens: On a large stone, write name, birth-date and date that they passed away, in permanent marker. Make a patio block by pouring cement into a mold (pizza box or old Frisbee work well). Write the person’s name, birth-date and day they passed away in wet cement. Decorate with marbles, mosaic tile chips or rocks. When cement sets, place in prayer gardens.
Gardening tip: Place a prayer bench in prayer gardens: Menard’s has a resin bench that looks like its hewn from rock for $20. Visit your loved ones for morning coffee and meditation.
Put yard statue or ornament in memory gardens: We have a twin cherub statue, a Blessed Mother Mary and a St. Joseph statue in our prayer gardens. Or place a pedestal with a glass ball or a fairy statue. Menard’s has cute animal figures.
Feed the birds. This is very appropriate for pet memorial gardens, especially. Hang hummingbird feeder, suet cake box, squirrel feeder and sunflower seed feeder. Place an orange on a stick to attract orioles. The birds will love your pet memorial gardens and reward you with song. Feeding birds is therapeutic and spiritual.
Hang wind chimes. These may deter birds, so use tiny Indian Bells of Sarna to enjoy birds and chimes in pet memorial gardens or family prayer gardens.
Mementos. If you are fortunate, you may have items from family or pet memorial gardens to add to yours. I have the pump and old school bell that grandpa had in his yard.
Plant cuttings: Transplant cuttings from your loved one’s plants or bushes. Wild rosebushes, forsythia, snowball, lilac, peony, Rose-of-Sharon, hibiscus, lily-of-the-valley, iris, hosta and spirea transplant well. I treasure my grandfather’s Japanese lanterns,
May your memory gardens provide you hours of solace, peace and comfort. May your prayer gardens be places of spiritual renewal. For more religious activities gardening crafts visit my blogs Catholic Activities, Green Crafts and Lady Greenwise.