Grief after losing a baby can be particularly trying. I know that I had a lot of energy that I had wanted to put toward growing and caring for my baby, and suddenly, I couldn't use it. With so much love to give, I found it helpful to try to pour that energy into projects to remember my baby.
Many families have done this very thing through gardening. Through planning, creating, and caring for a garden in memory of their child, these families discover a meaningful expression of the eternal love for their child.
On my Instagram, I invited people to share about their own memorial garden projects. Below you will find their own stories and reflections. If you have been considering creating a memorial garden of your own, their unique ideas may bring some inspiration!
"We have a memorial garden in our yard. We planted a tree for our son who we lost August 15, 2017. We’ve had five losses since and have planted flowers in it for them all. We recently put a bench in it and some wind chimes." -Halle Marenger, @lifeafterlilah
"I have planted tons of flowers for my three children! 💜 For Holland, I have planted tulips, Dutch irises, larkspur, and water lilies. 💚 For the Peas, I've planted roses, echinacea, and coreopsis. 💙 Larkspur and water lily are Holland's birth flowers, and roses (and honeysuckle) are the Peas' birth flowers, which is the reason for those flowers. ❤️For all three together, I've planted milkweed, two butterfly bushes, butterfly weed, mums, foxglove, and Speedwell. 💗 I also built small ponds to attract dragonflies." -Alison Baker, @thealisonb
"My daughter’s garden and memorial tree continue to be healing year after year. She would be five this year. We planted a tree on her first birthday and mixed in a few of her ashes. Every year we add to the garden and tending to it has been an act of parenting. I have a living two year old after a few years of fertility treatment. Her favorite spot is our garden. To see her play and enjoy has been so special❤️" -Joan Calzone, @joancalzone
"We have a section of garden dedicated to our baby with lots of little plans and ornaments we have been given, and a bench with a plaque with her name on, and a light up tree xx" -Laura Costello, @life_love_and_a_little_ladybug
"I wanted a poppy garden for our first baby but when I have planted poppies in the past they didn’t come back up the next spring and I was afraid that would just break my heart.... so my husband and I buried our first baby along with our second and third all together under an Apple tree. This year we decided together that what we really want is to plant a weeping cherry tree near their grave in honor of them." -Suneen Burrows, @3babybeezandthenewbornbird
Luciana's Mama, Daisy, also shared her story and pictures:
"On June 8, 2020, we lost our baby girl. That same week they were preparing to set a day to deliver her. We were some days away from meeting her and on June 8, I had not been feeling too good. I had chills and was sweating a lot with no fever at 3 am I decided I would just take it easy since I had a doctor’s appointment the next day. I noticed all day my daughter, Luciana Eloisa,
was not moving much. I started to try and monitor that. My husband came home from work, and we decided to call my OB. They asked me to go in to Labor and Delivery to make sure all was good. There we were told our baby girl’s heart had stopped. Our hearts and souls broke. It has been the hardest thing we have ever experienced. My dad died when I was 15 years old, but the loss of my own baby is just really, really hard. My husband and I are Christians and, although we have felt anger and sadness and have unanswered questions, we chose to still believe in our God’s promises and try to seek Jesus even harder.
For our baby’s memorial, we planted a "little gem" magnolia tree. We decided we did not want to
keep and hold my LuLu’s ashes in a box or in a porcelain heart because it brought more sadness to my heart and we believe her body is gone but her spirit lives in heaven. Instead we decided we would just throw her ashes into the soil we used to plant her tree. We would get the opportunity to care for the tree and watch it grow since we did not get to do that with our baby. That’s our Luciana’s tree. We get to have devotionals next to it and just go out and see its beauty to bring peace and a smile when it really hurts. Currently we are in search of furniture to place near it and will also be placing rocks around it with positive words. We had dinner the other day next to our tree with our first-born Lucas and love the little moments we get to spend like that as a family. After my daughter’s memorial we came across a Bible verse that for a moment I didn’t understand. I questioned how God would bring beauty from ashes when it hurt like hell. But when the first flower on my tree begin to bloom, I had a revelation of that verse, and I understood his promise to me and our family.
"He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord ’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a CROWN OF BEAUTY FOR ASHES, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has PLANTED for HIS own GLORY."
Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT
That Bible verse speaks so much. I don’t see how we will see the favor after this but he is promising it. And we believe it! God planted this tree in our hearts for his glory. That tree is our beautiful crown. He is giving us Beauty for Ashes. He turned graves into gardens and we see our daughter’s beauty reflected in those flowers in that tree. He will change our mourning for joy. Our daughter is in heaven, and we will all be together one day. And then of course my husband showed me the elevation song the other day named “Graves into Gardens.” When I listened to it, I lost it and cried so much. God was speaking to me loud and clear.
The magnolia flower means purity and that’s what our daughter was pure and lovely. The flower smells so yummy. It’s been a month since we planted
the tree, and it already started blooming which is fast. I feel God speaking to us through that. He is here near our broken hearts helping us get through this.
We have made my son Lucas part of all this. He has helped us water the tree every day and loves to do it. He also helped putting soil when we planted it. It has really helped our souls