How to grow a Healing Garden
Healing, Meditation and Memory gardens can be set aside to help ease our way through life. Working in the garden, any garden, we have found, is as good as therapy for our general health and peace of mind. See Part 1 Healing Gardens, Part 1: Your personal sanctuary
The question was,”Do any of you have healing or memory gardens? Has any part of a garden, or gardening itself ever helped you through a difficult time? I’d like to hear your stories….”
“Gardening can help with depression as a mood lifter.”
I enjoy the planning, the planting and the sitting back and adoring it all the most rewarding! Total inner peace
We had a Labyrinth.. built it ourselves. The most wonderful part was how the animals were attracted to it! The deer and rabbits would lay within it for hours.
I garden with rust and history and many of my pieces bring back fond family memories of both my parents. I also have my original bike and the daughters’ trikes as memories of our childhoods in my park area. My grandkids each picked their own Hosta to be planted there when they were young.
My mother was the expression of “green thumb”, she could turn a dying plant around to make it beautiful. After she passed away, I got to relocate some of her loves to my garden. Every spring I get to enjoy them as she did and it feels as if she is here with me…smiling on her work.
I think that every time, I’m out in my gardens; it’s an emotional and healing experience; for the soul!! What better place, to be closer to God, than out in nature!
I have a garden for my friend, who died 3 years ago from cancer. She and I really enjoyed our time gardening, talking about flowers and landscaping. We would sit on my porch and just watch everything grow. I have a placque with a poem about her and everyone knows “that its Penny’s garden” Each year I add a few more perennials and this is also where I go when I want to talk with her. It is the garden where I feel her presence the most…
I have a little corner of my yard that I planted a pine tree and some shrubs. I then put an archway in the center and it is kind of a hidden garden, which is what I call it. i have stepping stones and a bench. I had issues with depression and this was my thinking spot with coffee early in the morning.
I can pull weeds and have a great time talking to God, in fact it’s probably when and where the best thoughts happen. Ive had a complete hysterectomy and a nervous breakdown twice after that so yes I stay in the dirt until frost runs me off. Nothing makes me feel as good as gardening!
I don’t have a healing or memory garden, but when I found out my daughter was pregnant I started planning a garden for my my granddaughter and by the time she was born, it was completed. Every year i would pick out annuals to go along with the perennials. When she got big enough to start picking them out herself, she had a blast! Its so much fun to watch her pick them out and plant them. She will be six this May, just thinking about it makes my heart happy.
During the last few months of our 2nd son’s life, his Dad and 3 brothers built a pond and patio area. After Jon died we added flowers and hummingbird feeders as the hummingbird is the symbol of the Melanoma Research Foundation. Each year we add something that speaks to our pain, whether a USMC symbol or a hummingbird. It is our memory garden.
I have always used gardening as a stress reliever…it is a relatively cheap hobby if you have mastered propagation skills…We have quite the graveyard and plant sages over ea animal as a remembrance…I have a chronic illness and a little puttering in my greenhouse or yanking weeds to feed to the chickens or rabbits, trimming back even one rose bush gets me thru my day…As a gardener, we are the ultimate gamblers…gambling if a gopher won’t get that plant or if this spot is the right spot for this plant…it also allows us to be creative and generous – pass-a-long plants thru propagation and division. Over the yrs, I have turned about 10 iris tubers from my Grandma into about 400 and I have plugged some in my brother’s yard, my mom’s yard and my dad’s…There is also a GREAT sense of self satisfaction from gardening – GREAT therapy on the cheap!
I have a memory garden dedicated to my mom. It has a lot of her favorite plants in it: a small dogwood tree, yellow roses, a small copper birdbath with a frog in it, a couple of hydrangea bushes, bleeding heart, etc. I also have divisions from the hostas from her garden that she gave me when I first bought my house 20+ years ago. I always think of her when the dogwood blooms.
I have one in honor of my three dogs that passed away. I have bleeding hearts irises and several more but also have metal dogs that are recycled art and a stone that says our dogs leaves paw prints on our hearts. It really is peaceful.
I always feel a little closer to God in my garden be it my perennial corner butterfly garden, my rose beds or my raised decorative vegetable garden. I have Crohn’s disease and gardening is my therapy. I also love sitting on my back porch watching the birds and God’s beautiful creations grow and bloom. I also have perennials from my mother and dear friends that bring back a lot of wonderful memories.
I have an big, old house, surrounded by gardens. When we moved here, the lawn was a blank slate and every pathway, bed, birdhouse, rock, tree and plant I put here myself. The only time I was unable was when I had chemo, radiation or a cancer-related surgery. My neighbors knew I was sick when I failed to make an appearance in the gardens. As a 7-year survivor, it became my garden of miracles. I guess I never wanted it to be last Spring.
I have a memory garden for my sister who was murdered… The loss of my only sibling is overwhelming. some of her flowers have been transferred there so it helps me find some peace.
I will be creating a memory garden for my Mom this spring, she passed away 6 weeks ago. She loved her flower gardens, I am making garden sculptures using some of her teapots, vases etc. I will also plant her favorite plants and flowers. I re-purposed her birdbath into a planter a few years ago and made her a fountain out of a large beautiful pot.
We lost our 30-yr-old daughter in a car wreck, but mercifully her two children escaped unharmed physically. Each time I am forced to go decorate her grave site, all I can remember is the day of the wreck and the pain it brought to my grandchildren and us. Each time we left I just had to go to my husband’s late grandfather’s farm that we inherited. She had raised a 4-H plot for wildlife here for several years. The wonderful memories of her flowed peacefully there. So even though we have not built our little retirement home there yet, we have already started a memory garden there.
My mother has been gone for many years now … I have her St. Jude statue standing next to the Wild Dog Wood cutting I took from her house way back then … I try more gardening (she had ten green thumbs) but so far I’ve only succeeded with her cutting … grin
I have a memory garden for my Mom, husband and Dad all in the same flower garden’
Last spring, I added a wheelbarrow planting to our container garden, and dedicated it to our little granddaughter whom we lost two weeks after her birth. Found a great site that did personal garden plaques, too.
There is a tiny forested area which was beginning to grow up wild. I had some of the trees that were struggling from over growth cut, making it a beautiful grove of trees as it had been years earlier. I bought a 6 foot concrete angel and had it set there. This spring I will have stumps removed, some dirt filled in and by fall plant the new improved Appalachian dogwoods made more resistant to the dogwood borer by the University of Tennessee. The first one I plant will be for our daughter. Then I hope to set out one for every member of my husband’s family that lived out their life on that farm. I want to get bronze markers to dedicate each dogwood tree. I will plant ferns around the angel, some hydrangeas, hostas, and other shade loving plants. My dream is for a gazebo, however until then I will have benches and chairs for enjoying sweet remembrances.
I have begun a memory garden in honor of my late husband. Truly this quote says a lot, “The kiss of the sun for pardon. The song of the birds for mirth. One is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.”
I have something in my garden to represent each family member. Living and not living. It’s like therapy for me to grow and weed.
I put in a garden of pink flowers. and an angel statue and dedicated it to my daughter who has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
My flower garden is one of the places I go to worship with The Lord. I go there when things in life catch up with me, the stress of everyday things and I go there to talk to my son, as some of the others here….I lost a child.
My son was 17 and died of an apparent accidental suicide, or that’s what they said…. I won’t go into all the details. But a mom knows, and I know he didn’t.
A parent, especially a mother, the one who carried that child, and gave life to that child, never gets over the loss of her child. For me it was a greater pain than I had ever felt in my life, an emptiness in your heart, the loneliness you always feel. You learn to deal with it, but never get over it. My garden is my solitude, my healing place, my time with God, and because I have him in my life I can go on without my son.
I believe that we all are here on this earth for a purpose, and when that purpose is fulfilled he will take us home…..my son fulfilled his purpose at the tender age of 17. Thank you, Flea Market Gardening, for letting me share with you. I could go on, but that’s for another day.
It is nice to know that a lot of people do this, it is our get away, our shrine to a loved one or just a place of peace. I have one for my father-law. I hand cut the wood and took a post hole digger to dig the holes. After several days( and blisters) the task was done and a friend asked me why I didn’t have him just cut the wood (fence post) with his chain saw.Wanted to tell him it was my way of working my sadness out and by doing it by hand I could talk and feel closer to him and God, it made it more pleasing cause I did the labor out of love.
My mom and I enjoyed gardening. When she passed away I moved as many of her plants to my garden as I could. My garden became my sanctuary as I went through the grieving process: Comforting gentle garden sounds; birds chirping, leaves rustling in the breeze, dripping water… Encouraging signs of life; little tree frogs, busy bees, sleepy salamanders… Reminders of my mom; her red blooms, the plants she gave to me, the plants propagated from her garden… The pain of losing mom has lessened over the years and my garden is still a nurturing place for me. I’m grateful for the time Mom and I had together and the joy of gardening that she planted in me.
Gardening has become my way to get away from the words. I write, and I’m working on a pretty heavy novel about the Revolution. Sometimes all that masculine stuff and the battle scenes have me aching for a piece of feminine peace. So I head to my tiny little back yard, and snip and trim and push the dirt around in between writing stints. I even planted a winter garden to keep me occupied, and have nurtured some plants indoors. In nice weather, I nap in a hammock out there and watch the birds and bees. Sigh… How I can’t wait for spring to return to ease the gaps between paragraphs.
I have a memory garden in memory of my daddy who was killed in an auto accident by a drunk driver in 2008….. He worked for a Chevrolet dealer in Stephenville, Texas as a mechanic and then as a member of the service department for 35 years .. I collect Chevy hubcaps and arrange them on the wall behind my garden and have made hubcap flowers and have a Chevy tailgate bench…. This has helped me soooo much to forget the tragedy and heal my heart… I encourage everyone to have a memory garden!
We lost our beloved cat, “Kellie”, she was 19 years old. She was the last of all children and furry babies, still at home. She moved with us, to our present home on 2.25 acres. My husband built a bench, next to her place of rest, and planted a tree with river rock around, still a work in progress. The hubby will sit there with our newest pets and they will watch for me driving down the long driveway. I still miss her, I can sometimes hear her, calling.
My Grand-Mother died a few years ago, In her Will, She Left me Everything in her yard, I took a corner of my Yard, and Made a Garden In her Memory, I Put her Iron work, Birdbath, Rose Arbor and thing in it, I feel so close to her in that part of the Garden, I even sit on the Same glider we use to sit and talk for hours. That is my Favorite Sitting spot, When I have time to sit..
I have a special place in the garden for my Kitty. I have a gardening kitty statue there and I always put birdseed on the ground because she liked to “talk” to the birds. And then during the summer I let the sunflowers grow wild.
I call my garden my therapy garden. I feel so a peace when I’m there.
I made a memory garden last summer for my Mom that died in the Joplin, MO tornado. I planted her favorite roses and coneflowers with a birdhouse on a post and an angel sitting on a tiny birdbath. It brings me comfort and great thoughts of her.
When I bought my house in 1998, the yard was a blank slate. I spent many days out digging, planting shrubs and perennials, to cope with raising a rebellious teenager. A couple years later, when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, the garden began a place where I could go and expend my frustrated energy and shed my tears. I found solace there. It has gotten me through every traumatic event since. I was devastated a couple of years ago when a tornado blew threw, ripping so many of my beautiful plants from the ground, but I just gathered up my energy and started over. My garden takes my pain and gives me strength. How could anyone not love a garden?
The day my brother died I had cut out the design of a new flower bed. I didn’t want to finish it, since all I had done was the cut out. My husband told me that I needed to finish it. It would help me. He was so right. My brother died April 17 and I worked the rest of spring and the summer on it with my husbands help. Three years later it is a beautiful bed and has gotten me thru one of the worst time of my life. Now when things stress me or I need to work thru something I go to the dirt. It calms my soul! I have recommended this “therapy” to a cousin of mine that lost her brother as well. It helped her as well.
Sydney Van Buskirk Minor
“Memorial Garden: My granddaughter Hannah and Carter are Birthday Twins, having been born on the same day. Hannah was born 3 1/2 months early, but is a perfectly healthy 5 year old now. Carter has had a digestive system transplant of 5 organs and is doing well. Hannah’s own twin, Steven, lived only a week. So, this is the Birthday Corner, but also a memorial to little Steven for whom I add anything blue from the California Blue Stones under the magnolia to the blue bottle edging, which I’m working on now.”
“Here is a plate flower I made in honor of my sister that past away. She always made deviled eggs anytime we had a family get together. So what better thing to use then a devil food platter. The stone was a gift from my co-workers. They both found a special place in my garden. I hope she can see both from heaven.”
Your voices cause me smiles, thoughtful reflection and tears. I know you are all speaking from your hearts and it may not have been easy to remember lost loved ones and hard times, but we are together in nature,…that’s one thing I know. This comment from one of you particularly sums up our feelings about how gardens can help us:
“My garden is my therapy. I just love working in it. A lot of my plants are from friends past and present. I love being out there listening to the birds and digging in the dirt!”
Read more in Healing Gardens, Part 1: Your personal sanctuary