Real people with simple ideas for creating a meaningful tribute in the garden.

"All my hurts, My garden spade can heal." Ralph Waldo Emerson

My dad was a gardener. Last winter on the first anniversary of his death I was having a pretty tough time. I was walking through my yard and saw a bloom on a quince bush- one of Dad's favorites. I shared this story with one of my sisters, and she told me that at the same time she found a rose- another of Dad's favorites- blooming in winter! It made me feel like my dad was telling me he was okay.

What I did was set up bird feeders because Eddie so loved his birds. I remember on the morning of his death- it was just daybreak- and as they carried his body to the ambulance, the birds were singing everywhere! Everyone noticed. It seemed the birds sensed something was very different and were saying goodbye (or maybe hello) to him.

My husband died very young of a chronic illness. His acceptance of his death was beyond understanding. He asked that his ashes become "part of the good earth". He died on the vernal equinox. On the summer solstice, our family planted a flowering crab tree, one he always wanted, with his ashes mixed into the roots. Our oldest son graduated from high school one year later, and we took pictures of him in his cap and gown with "Dad", who was blossoming beautifully. As long as they live, this will always be "Dad's tree."

You don’t have to have a large space to create a living memorial. For those without the room or the ability to create an elaborate, in-ground garden, a patio or indoor pot can be planted instead. A simple potted planting can be just as meaningful as more complex garden. Bend a wire coat hanger into the shape of a heart and secure in potting soil. Plant a climbing vine that you can train to grow up the wire. Rosemary symbolizes remembrance, English Ivy friendship are easy plants to train into a topiary form.