How time flies, West Coast gardeners! A new season will be on us soon, with changes in the garden and in your home. Kids grow taller, teens get wiser (eventually…), and we become aunts, uncles and grandparents before we know what’s happening!
Sometimes it seems hard to slow things down or to take the time to remember when life seemed a bit simpler. Sure we can scroll through our facebook feed for memories, and who doesn’t take guilty pleasure in trolling their own instagram account? But for something a bit more meaningful, let’s turn to our gardens, where we can always escape the crazy world of to-do lists, meetings and the high speed of life.
A memory garden not only holds reminders of precious times in our lives, but also grows with us, echoing the passage of time. Kids love knowing the meaning behind plants and other things in our garden, especially if it has to do with them! A cherished spot to commemorate a loved one who has passed away can give you comfort and joy. Watching the seasons change around these memories keeps them fresh and alive.
They Grow Up So Fast…
Sometimes it seems the growth of your children is marked mainly by the need to go shopping for new clothes! (Didn’t we just buy these shoes last week?) But when they are young it’s the perfect time to create something special in the garden. Have the kids help you create or pick out their own garden addition, and give it extra meaning for them.
One idea is to commemorate a special day, such as their first day of school, birthday or another important event. Together you can create something special for the garden such as a cement handprint stepping stone or a decorative pot. You could grow your garden by making a new one every year on the first day of school. Another idea is to pick out a plant together, for example a new rose bush in their favourite colour, or a small Japanese maple tree.
Choose a plant that has a long life and that you are willing to take care of. If you think you might move into a new house in the future, keep your commemorative plants in large pots so they can be transported if need be. Already have a tree in your yard? If it’s big enough, why not add a swing? Inscribe your child’s name and the date into the wood, then let them have some fun.
Remembering a Beloved Pet
It can be difficult, especially for kids, when a beloved pet passes away. Having a spot in the garden for them to honour their special friend could help. You can create a memory stone using cement and pressing their dog or cat collar tag into it while it’s still wet, or write their name into the wet cement.
Some garden centres carry animal accent pieces, so you could search around for the right cat, dog or bird statue to carefully place in your garden. There are pet stores that will inscribe writing onto a stone for you, such as your pet’s name, dates or a personalized message.
Our Love Will Bloom Forever…
There are so many gifts out there to commemorate a wedding, from inscribed wine glasses, towels and pillowcases. After a few anniversaries you may decide that enough is enough. (Everything in the house can’t be monogrammed!) Take a step outside. This anniversary (or wedding day, if you’re just getting married) go for something that will grow and change just like your love and life.
Choose a long lasting addition that is also sturdy, such as a tree or large bush. Fruit trees, lilac bushes, rose bushes, maples or magnolias would make a beautiful commemorative addition to your garden. You can even get an inscribed plaque created to place near your plant. (Go for a metal one, though, not wood as it will eventually deteriorate.)
Celebrating a Life Well Lived
Just as there are beginnings, there are also endings. Remembering loved ones who have passed away can bring us peace and comfort. Creating a special place in our gardens, just as we have in our hearts, keeps them in our lives. Inscribed stones or plaques, surrounded by a beautiful garden of changing, blooming plants. A garden bench with their name on it, for us to rest on and reflect. Or choose a long living tree or bush to honour the ones we love.
More than just a place to make new memories, a garden can be a special spot to remember the important times and people in our lives. Create a space for yourself and your family in your garden.
Check out some great DIY ideas and inspiration on our pinterest board.