A memorial flower bed is often a great way to create a peaceful tribute to someone we’ve lost. Whether from illness, age or sudden accident – whether we “knew it was coming” or it was unexpected, the situations may vary but this small area can be a place of peace.
Begin by defining the border. It might be a small four foot square area in front of the landscape, or a raised bed with a variety of materials used for the border. Once your borders are defined, clear and turn over the soil in the area. If the ground is too hard or unsuitable, you can still create a memorial bed with a raised bed. Combine compost, bagged or purchased topsoil and peat moss, mixing thoroughly. Add in composted manure or rabbit manure and mix in.
Decide on what you want to create with plants. You might use red, white and blue flowers, or a theme of pink or blue flowers. Still others might use the person’s favorite color, with purple flowers or other vivid colors. You might favor bulbs, or select a low maintenance wildflower blend. Other options may be butterfly bushes or plants to attract birds.
Still other options might be herbs such as mint or rosemary, which can be used as well as serving as a quiet respite area.
The possibilities are nearly endless! Once it’s set up the first year, if you use annual seeds you’ll need to replant every year in the spring. Perennials just take attention for planting the first year, and maintenance afterwards.
In or near the garden you might place a bench or seating area, or solar lighting. There are many memorial plaques and stones that can be made or purchased but there are more alternatives! For example, a model car, or horse or other animal may “watch over” the garden. A bird feeder or bird bath nearby may attract living birds, or you may collect small ceramic birds to dot the garden area.
These are all ideas that don’t take a great deal of money. If money is an issue check Craigslist or Freecycle for materials to make a raised bed, or even for flowers and bulbs to put in it. The small items decorating the bed may be collected in time, and may be a help in dealing with grief when you see things that your departed loved one would have liked.
We cannot change the loss, but the simple act of creating a memorial can help many deal with the grief and take small steps to remember and celebrate life. The beauty of a garden, even if “just cheap wildflowers,” can be a comfort to those left behind. If some of those are children it can be a way to do something without talking about “feelings” or even open the door to discussion of those feelings in a non-threatening way.
Make it personalized and within your budget and capabilities. Even a small memorial spot can help provide comfort when flowers are blooming and butterflies fluttering around.