How to Create a Memory Garden
When a loved one dies it's important to find a way to commemorate them and celebrate their life in a way that is respectful and appropriate. For many, a memory garden is the perfect way to do this, and provides a devoted area where you can always go to feel close to that person, and find solitude and peace. But if you are not familiar with memory gardens you may be wondering what they are and how to set them up.
What is a memory garden?
A memory garden is a space (normally outside) where you can put things that remind you of someone who has passed on. It can contain anything you want, can be any size or location, but will normally include flowers and other things of beauty. There is no right or wrong when it comes to setting up a memory garden, but if you want some guidance on doing so, we've outlined some of the things you might want to think about:
Choose the location
The location is one of the most important things to consider as you don't want to have to drive out of your way every time you wish to visit your memory garden. Some people may choose to set up their garden at their loved ones grave site, and this may mean that the first stage of the memory garden is the funeral flowers, which can be a great way to start the project. However if the burial site is too far away, or you want something a bit more private it is worth considering other options, whether that's at your home, an allotment, or even a spot in a local park. The only thing to think about with the second two options is that they are not necessarily private, and there may be restrictions on being able to send flowers and plant them.
Decide on who should be honoured
The next thing to think about is who should be honoured; chances are you are setting up a memory garden following a recent loss, but this doesn't mean you can't commemorate the life of other people you may have lost in the past. You may for example choose to set up a memory garden that celebrates the life of many people, or just one. The choice is entirely yours, and is one that may change over time.
Decorate it with items that remind you of them
As mentioned above, one of the first things you may wish to include in the garden are the sympathy flowers, funeral wreaths and funeral posies that were delivered at the service. This will be a common starting point particularly if you choose the burial site as your location, but they can of course also be taken to another location if desired. On top of this you may wish to include the person's favourite flowers, ornaments that remind you of them, greetings cards, plaques or anything else you feel marks your respect for a lost loved one. There are absolutely no limits on what can be included, and your space will be completely unique to you and your loved one. However if you would like some ideas it may be worth visiting a florist to get some inspiration and advice.
Encourage wildlife to visit
One of the nicest things about having a memory garden is the sense of calm and beauty that they typically inspire, and this is only increased if you are able to create an environment that is rich in wildlife as well. Do some research about the best flowers to attract bees, butterflies and birds, so that your space is not only an oasis for you, but also a haven for nature. Connecting with nature while remembering the life of a loved one is a powerful experience, and well worth investing the time and effort to achieve if it's of interest.
Keep it tidy and well cared for
It may seem a silly point, but considering how busy our lives are today, it's one to be mindful of. While intentions may be pure to maintain the garden and visit it on a regular basis, the reality is that over time this may become more challenging than it was at the start. It's therefore sensible to be realistic from the outset and consider how much time you can genuinely afford to spend on maintaining your memory garden. It is far better to have something simple and low maintenance that will look beautiful regardless of your input, if you know you may struggle to find time, than to come up with something elaborate that unfortunately descends into disarray. And once you've decided, be sure to keep it well maintained, seek out help from friends and family, or even a professional gardener if you need to.