Gardening Through Grief


"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. "

-Alfred Austin

The language of flowers

In June 2016, Avery's outdoor Garden was started. I was raw in my grief when I made the decision that I had to do something to help my broken heart and honor our son. With the help of my husband, Mike, we started the outdoor garden in the backyard of our home. Prior to this garden my husband lovingly referred to me as "Old Green Thumb". I had limited expertise in gardening, but loved flowers and knew this was something I needed for my soul.

I began researching the beginner steps of gardening. I found resources on social media and online that were helpful, and then set on my mission. I found out what flowers would do best in my zone, and plotted my garden from there.

I started to understand the importance of tending to this garden. It gave my empty arms something to take care of in my grief. I would sit, admiring the flowers and when they bloomed, it was as if I was witnessing a miracle. Because gardening in a sense is a miracle and nature can nurture a broken heart.

Flowers speak a language all of their own. Some may represent beautiful inspiration in healing, remembrance, joy, etc. While others can hit the sad parts of our lives such as loss, grief and missing someone dear. Below are some suggested flowers and their meaning. Explore what might work best in your own memorial garden! 


Flowers & Special Meanings

Iris: Symbolizing faith and hope (blue) or purity (white)

Johnny Jump Ups: Symbolizing "You occupy my thoughts".

Lavender: Symbolizing devotion and love.

Liatris: Symbolizing "I will try again", happiness and bliss

Lilac: Symbolizing first love, youthful innocence and emotions.

Lily: Symbolizing a wish for happiness.

Magnolia: Symbolizing perseverance and love of nature, sweetness and beauty.

Marigolds: Symbolizing comforts of the heart, sacred affections and sorrow.

Pansies: Symbolizing thoughtfulness and love. A symbol of "free thought".

Poppy: Symbolizing eternal sleep, imagination, magic and eternal life. Also it can be a good symbol for fertility.

Primrose: Symbolizing youth or young love and means "I can't live without you."

Roses: Symbolizing love. Each color has a different meaning as well. Red- I love you, Peach- sweetness, Yellow- joy, White- innocence, Burgundy- undying love, Pale pink- love at first sight, Lavender- love at first sight

Sunflower: Symbolizing happiness, loyalty and longevity.

Trumpet Vine: Symbolizing new beginnings

Tulips: Symbolizing cheerful thoughts. Each color has a different meaning as well. White- forgiveness, Purple- royalty, Pink- caring/attachments, Yellow- brightness, sunshine and a hopeless love.

Yarrow: Symbolizing healing and inspiration.

Zinnias: Symbolizing thoughts of an absent friend-either alive or who has passed on.

                 Ajuga: Symbolizing the "most lovable".

Allium: Symbolizing unity and patience.
Aster: Symbolizing the talisman of  love.
Astillbe: Symbolizing "I will still be waiting".
Astrantia: Symbolizing strength, courage and protection.
Bee Balm: Symbolizing fertility and a restful sleep.
Bell Flowers: Symbolizing affection and everlasting love.
Bleeding Heart: Symbolizing undying love.
Black Eyed Susan: Symbolizing encouragement and motivation.
Cactus: Symbolizing endurance, warmth and maternal affection
Chrysanthe(mums): Symbolizing hope during dark times.
Coneflowers: Symbolizing strength and healing.
Cosmos: Symbolizing peace and tranquility.
Daisies: Symbolizing joy, innocence, hope and happiness. It is known to be the flower of children.
Dianthus: Symbolizing heavenly or Godly.
Gladiolas: Symbolizing strength, beauty and love at first sight.
Goldenrod: Symbolizing hope, love and faith.
Heliotrope: Symbolizing eternal love.
Hosta: Symbolizing devotion
Hydrangeas: Symbolizing earnestness and the ability to communicate any heartfelt emotion from joy to grief.