Getting your hands dirty in a garden, surrounding yourself with thriving new life, can be therapeutic for dealing with grief. Consider planting a memorial garden for your lost loved one. Here are some ways to garden your way to healing.
Your Grief, Your Memorial Garden
Your grief may be huge, but your garden can be as big or as small as you want. It can be a single tree or a flower bed or a whole yard. Just remember that it’s yours, like it’s your grief. Consider starting out with a small space – enough for a single bush or a single tree – and adding to it every year as you memorialize your loved one.
Choose a Location
The first thing to do when planting any garden is to pick a location. Note how much sun the area gets and how much water it gets naturally. Consider choosing a private area so you can sit and remember in peace. If you live in an apartment, don’t fret. There are plenty of plants that thrive in containers. You can decorate it with a ribbon in your loved one’s favorite color or decorate the pot with tiny statues of your loved one’s favorite things.
Think about your loved one and what they preferred. Some questions to consider include:
- Did they have a favorite season? If so, choose flowers that bloom during that season.
- A favorite color? Pick flowers that bloom in that color.
- A favorite tree? Plant a variety of that tree that fits your space and growing zone.
- A favorite scent? Fill your garden with flowers that smell like that.
- Do you have a fond memory of them that included a certain color or scent? A place? Choose plants and flowers that were found in that place, that are that color or that carry that scent.
Some plants also have certain meanings, such as rosemary for remembrance, pink carnations or forget-me-nots for memory, daisies or white lilies for innocence, and red roses for a lost spouse. You can also choose plants with inspirational names, like the peace rose or the guardian angel hosta.
Be sure to include a mix of plants, with taller plants in the back and shorter plants in the front. If you’re including a tree, make sure you have plenty of room for the tree to grow and root; maybe don’t choose a spot right next to a house. Don’t worry too much about good garden design. Just make sure you have the right conditions for the plants you choose and let your heart guide you.
You can also choose decorations or statuary that reflect your loved one’s favorite things. Think about including items that invite people to linger and enjoy the garden, such as wind chimes or gazing balls. Also try to plan for a seating area, so you can sit and remember your loved ones. Remember, this space and these memories are yours. Choose items that reflect your love and your loss and your grief.