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Seven lovely memorial garden ideas

A lady sits in contemplation on a bench, in a  memory garden planted with roses

‘If I had a single flower for every time I think of you, I could walk forever in my garden’

There is nothing quite like time spent outdoors in a beautiful space, for remembering a loved one. Creating a garden memorial for loved ones can be a wonderful tribute, as well as a healing place for quiet contemplation.

Whether you have a sheltered spot in a corner of the garden, or a sunny balcony, plants and garden ornaments can take on real meaning in memory of someone you loved.

Here are seven memory garden ideas that may inspire you.

Plants

Someone holding a sprig of blue forget me nots

Rosemary is traditionally the herb of remembrance and is a robust evergreen. It bursts into blue flowers in the spring, which complement those of the forget-me-not (pictured above). Forget-me-nots can be bought from many garden centres or sown as seeds between May and September to flower next spring.

A tree can be a long-lasting garden memorial. Bios urns and Geos urns, available through many funeral directors, combine cremation ashes in the growing matter to bring a tree to life from seed.

Old fashioned pink roses climbing up trellis

Roses are wonderful garden memorials for loved ones, with a host of varieties including Loving Memory, At Peace and Never Forgotten specially named with loving sentiments in mind. Discover 13 beautiful tribute roses for some inspiration. Pretty climbing clematis Remembrance also looks wonderful when it comes into late summer bloom.

Given the right amount of sunshine, nutrients, TLC and water, most plants will thrive in containers, so don’t let space limit your imagination, when it comes to creating a remembrance garden.

Personal touches

Pretty violas planted in an old pair of boots

A chipped teapot that always had a ready supply of cuppas on the go, an old pair of wellies, shopping basket, or even a football, can make a unique garden planter or home for wildlife. Little personal items from your loved one’s daily life can be lovely reminders to incorporate in your memorial garden. Outdoor paints or finishes can add a special touch and increase their longevity, while adding drainage holes where possible will keep the plants healthy and happy.

Feed the birds and butterflies

A swallowtail butterfly feeds on marigold nectar

It’s always wonderful when wildlife is attracted to a garden and this can take on special significance when someone we love dies. For many people, the cheerful robin is a symbol of hope, while for others, butterflies are especially meaningful.

A bird table or feeder is a practical ornamental feature, while plants will also draw hungry birds in search of insects to your remembrance garden.

Blooms including wallflowers, heliotrope, sweet William and stocks are much-loved by butterflies, which also find the purple-flowering garden shrub buddleia irresistible. If you have the right habitat nearby, you can also ‘grow your own’ butterflies for release. Find them online from breeders who specialise in native British varieties.

Sound and water

Water gently spills over the brim of an earthernware garden feature

The sound of water can be calming and relaxing, helping to clear your mind of ‘noisy’ thoughts. Solar powered water features are available in many shapes and sizes, suitable for all sorts of memorial gardens. Fountain-like pumps are suitable for ponds, while ornamental bowls and pebble beds take up little space and don’t require a constant supply of water. Consider grasses or bamboo, spinners or windchimes in your remembrance garden as alternative ways to combine ornamental features with gentle sounds.

Light a candle

A decorative glass lantern hangs on the bough of a flowering cherry tree

In the summertime, sometimes the best time to sit and quietly reflect in a remembrance garden is at the end of the day. Lighting a candle for a loved one can be a meaningful comfort and also bring colour when the sun goes down. Consider outdoor candle holders with coloured glass, solar powered lanterns, or strings of solar-powered lights woven through branches or amid trailing plants and trellis.

In their name

An attractive stack of pebbles

Personalise a garden memorial bench or chair with an engraving or plaque bearing your loved one’s name, or perhaps an engraved memorial stone or garden plaque with a special sentiment. A pebble bed or bowl is another lovely remembrance garden idea. Invite visitors to bring their own pebble in tribute, adding to your memorial garden.

Centre piece

A traditional style garden urn full of flowering plants

Plants and features that evoke memories are an important part of special remembrance gardens, while some people also choose to make their loved one’s remains a focal point of a memorial garden. Incorporating or scattering their ashes into a planting area is one way to do so, while you can also find cremation urns specially designed and sculpted for display outdoors. Ornamental bird baths and stone planters are also an attractive way to remember loved ones, with special memorial kinds available which incorporate a niche in the plinth to accommodate cremation ashes.

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