Fun & Hobbies
Creating a Garden Full of Memories
What are memories? They are the shimmering reflection of times past, those times we want and don’t want to remember. Each and every day we are making memories that can last us a lifetime. For parents, some of the most precious memories are those that reflect our lives with our kids.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could capture those moments and hold them forever? If you’ve ever taken and saved a photograph then you know what we mean. Staring into the face of bygone days can lead to laughs over old times. Where does the time go?
Scrapbooking is another way to keep memories alive long after the moment has passed. You can use different embellishments to add quotes, captions, and images to enhance the memory. Unfortunately, scrapbooking can take time and patience. In a busy world, it isn’t always conducive to our lifestyle.
If you like gardening, there is another way that you can bring to life special moments with your children. It’s called planting a “garden full of memories.” Allow your outdoor landscape to be transformed by special days, events and achievements, as well as the yearly growth of your child or children.
It’s not hard to do if you already have a green thumb and there are plenty of ideas to draw from (which we will mention to you in this report). The information we give could spark your creative juices and help you to fashion other ideas or traditions that your children can pass down to their young ones.
In this report, we will give you some ideas on how to add different items to your garden as reminders of the past, present and future. You are doing it for your kids but there is no reason why they can’t help you in the process. They can learn as you both have fun together.
CREATING YOUR GARDEN
Where to Start
You don’t have to go out and till the ground or sow seeds. This is not your average garden with vegetables and fruits. It is more of a flower garden where people can walk and sit and enjoy the view. Even if you have a small yard you can begin with one area and then move on to expand as you have time and the memories to fill the garden.
Start with a plan. Home and garden stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot offer DIY classes in planting trees, flowers, seeds, creating flower beds, adding decoration and landscaping tips. Most of the work can be done yourself as long as you have all of the equipment necessary to do the job.
Think of this as an adventure. Tell your kids what you are doing and see what they think. They may have ideas to share with you too.
In a garden, just like with scrapbooking and photos, you can commemorate almost any event. So, what do you want to memorialize in your garden? Here are some suggestions:
- Birth of your children
- Marriage of your children
- Birth of grandchildren
- Graduation from high school and college
- Special items that kids bring home from school
- Holidays spent with family
- Each month or year of their life while they are babies and toddlers
You can give each child their own space in the garden. It can become a place of solitude for them while they live at home and a way for you to bask in memories of them after they move away.
IDEAS FOR YOUR GARDEN
Trees are always needed. They supply much-needed oxygen for all living things. Trees can also act as a break to stop soil erosion in your yard.
The idea here is to plant trees that mean something to you. To that end, you will need to decide what kind to plant and where. Remember the special area for each child? You can stake off each area and then choose the first tree for each of your children. Because you are their parents, a tree in the center of your garden can symbolize your union.
How about seasonal trees? If you have a child born in the fall, choose a fall variety of tree with deep colors of red and brown. If in the winter, you can choose an evergreen pine or two.
Maybe you have a favorite tree or one you fancied on your honeymoon. Add it to your garden. Fruit trees are also a good idea because they are the trees that keep on giving. Remember though that you won’t see fruit until the tree starts to mature, in about five years. Till then, kids can hang paper fruit on the tree to remind them of what is to come.
How do you plant a tree? First, choose the right time of year. Planting is best in the fall or early spring. Next, choose your location. If the tree will grow tall, you probably don’t want it too near the house. Planting a copse of trees can create a private sanctuary when they are grown in.
You will need a very deep hole for your tree. Check to be sure that there isn’t any power or water lines running through the area in which you plan on putting the tree. The hole will need to be two or three times wider than the tree root ball. Leave a platform of dirt in the center for the root ball to rest upon.
Also, don’t forget to cut away the wire basket and remove the burlap sack surrounding the roots. Once you remove the bag, plant as soon as possible. Allow the tree to sit about half an inch above ground level before you start filling the hole with dirt. Now water will run downward instead of collecting around the base of the tree.
Add manure mixed with some of the dirt you removed from the hole. This will nourish your new tree. Water the tree once the hole is filled. Cover the dirt with mulch to help with water retention. Stake your tree to prevent it from leaning.
Your kids may not be able to dig the hole but they can help fill it back in. As you work, explain to them what the tree symbolizes.
Flowers are as beautiful as they are varied. You can have lots of fun with them when it comes to adding them to your garden scheme.
The first order of business is to decide whether you are planting bulbs or actual blooming flowers. If you can, select perennial blooms because they will return each year as a little reminder of the event for which you planted it.
Choose from flowers that will grow well in your zone or region. You can look that up on the internet or buy a flower guide from a home and garden store. Where you will plant them depends on their requirements – full sun, partial sun, shade, border flowers or potted plants.
One added bit of fun that you can have with planting flowers is learning their secret language. Yes, flowers have meaning! Young lovers used to record their feelings in nature because they dared not put them down on paper. You can use this secret language to symbolize a variety of special events in the life of your children.
Here are a few examples of what different flowers mean:
- Acacia – concealed love
- Amaryllis – pride and beauty
- Ash tree – grandeur
- Baby’s breath – innocence
- Cactus – endurance and warmth
- Chrysanthemum – cheerfulness, optimism
- Columbine – strength and wisdom
- Dogwood – durability
- Honeysuckle – generosity
- Iris – wisdom
- Daffodil – 10th wedding anniversary
- Pansy – loyalty, fist wedding anniversary
There are many things you can do with your flowers. Here are some ideas:
Plant a flower that represents a trait that each child possesses.
Plant their namesake flower (if your child is named Lily, then plant the same flower).
Plant a flower for its brilliant or subdued color that represents your child’s favorite color.
Plant a flower for each wedding anniversary and birthday.
Spell your child’s name in flowers. Use a flower to represent each letter of their name and plant in sequence. Challenge the kids and relatives to guess your message.
You can also use flowers to design other words or messages for memories that are known only to you. For instance, if your child was born on a Wednesday, add orange flowers to your garden to symbolize the day of their birth. The remaining days are associated with the following colors: Monday – violet, Tuesday – red, Thursday – blue, Friday – green, Saturday – indigo, and Sunday – yellow.
Choose a color scheme for the flowers that you choose so that the colors complement each other. If you are working with bulbs, plant them in the early fall unless another time is specified. Take care to water and give them the proper type of soil nutrition for them to grow big and beautiful. Also, allow space for them to propagate. This means that your flowers will multiply. You don’t want to plant them too closely for that reason.
Don’t forget about the plants that you receive for special occasions (Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas, birthdays and the like). These too can become a part of your memory garden. If they are not suitable for replanting in the ground, you can keep them in pots, large and small. Create a decorative container garden. The kids can help replant and also decorate the pots. Paint them or add symbols and dates of when and why the plants were received.
Adding Garden Ornaments
What fun is a garden full of memories if you can’t decorate it? This may be a child’s favorite part and yours as well. Here are some ideas for garden decorating crafts that you and your children can make.
Bird houses – Welcome wildlife into your garden by giving them a place to visit. Create simple bird houses from scrap wood and post them on poles. Each bird house can have the child’s name and be decorated in their favorite color.
Stepping stones – You can use these to create paths throughout your garden to connect the different areas. It can be a sort of maze where kids can play and have fun. You can buy stepping stone kits at any craft store. Want ideas for imprints? Cast your child’s handprint or footprint for each year of their life, starting now. Even cast the family pet’s prints and yours as well. Include the name, date and age of each person represented by the prints. Kids may want to further decorate with freestyle drawings of themselves or your pets.
Stepping stones don’t just have to be for prints. Embed pieces of anniversary or Mother’s Day flowers in one. Engrave them with the name of a special family event and the date. The ideas are truly endless and the craft is easy to create.
Garden markers – Use old wooden spoons as markers in your garden. Stain or paint them and then add pictures and words. Each child can place their name on a marker to identify their special area of the garden. Markers can also be used like commemorative plaques (use as a headstone of sorts for a pet’s grave or a flower planting for a lost grandparent or other family member).
Decorative borders – Separate different flower beds with brick or wooden borders. The best thing about borders is that they come in different shapes and can be laid out in a variety of patterns. For instance, if one child likes fish, create a flower bed surrounded by scalloped brick bordering arranged in the shape of a fish. Let the kids color and decorate their borders if they wish.
Decorative flower pots – We mentioned flowering plants that you wanted to keep but couldn’t be planted in the ground. Make flower pots for them and then arrange them throughout the garden. You can buy terra cotta pots and decorate them, or use different items you have around the house or in the garden shed to craft flower pots. Old coffee cans, and old detergent or milk containers are great as makeshift flower pots. Don’t forget to poke holes in the bottom for water to drain.
Create hanging ornaments – The trees you just planted are too young to climb but the branches may be sturdy enough to hang homemade ornaments. Remember those ornaments and other hangings that children make in school? Instead of putting them in a book or a box, preserve them and use them to add to the memories in your garden.
Repurpose childhood items – Is your daughter too old for her tricycle? Spray paint it and use it as a plant stand in the garden. Baby crib railings can be used as fencing to entwine vines around.
Holiday decorations – Do you have ornaments that you don’t use anymore or ones that are cracked? Let the kids decorate the garden with them for Christmas. Baby’s first ornament can find a comfortable home in that child’s special place in the garden.
Kid friendly places – You are creating memories for your kids but the garden will be used by them as well. Create a rock garden. Use some rocks that are big enough to sit on. Allow kids to decorate them if you want. Paint each one to look like a different animal. Another idea – use the rock garden as a story time venue for you and the children.
Provide seating for your kids. You can buy benches that surround trees or use old patio benches and paint them for use in the garden. Each child can choose what furnishings they want for their area. Anyone who wants can sit and enjoy the tranquility of the garden.
Add a water feature. The sound of water is soothing and peaceful. It doesn’t have to be a deep pool, but it will add something special to your garden. If you feel enterprising and don’t mind working hard, you can add fish to your pond. It can be used as a learning tool for kids to find out about nature.
How about a sandbox? Kids can use it to spend hours playing in their own back yard. Border an area with a plywood frame and fill it with sand. Turn the sandbox into an adventure area by burying some of their favorite toys or “dinosaur bones” that they have to find.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Let everyone participate. The idea of this garden is to make memories for you to keep and cherish as your children grow up. And one day they will be gone, but memories mean more when shared. Here are some ideas for achieving that.
Celebrate new additions to the garden – Whenever you add something new to the garden, make sure that the entire family is present. This starts a tradition and also sets the importance of the garden in your lives. Alternately, whenever your kids want to add something to the garden, they can gather everyone around to share in their joy and accomplishment.
Keep a record of your garden – This is important for future generations to be able to decipher the loving mystery that has become your memory garden. Keep landscape blueprints, photos of each new addition, messages in flowers, trees and shrubs as well as instructions for crafts you have used in the garden. Compiled together, they tell a story as brilliant as the garden itself.
Invite others to share your joy – As the garden grows, share it with friends and other family. You may give them the idea to do something similar for their children and their legacy.
Live in your garden – It is not a monument but a place of memories, and memories are meant to be shared and enjoyed. Set up tables and chairs in different areas. Eat in your garden, hold parties, have cookouts or just sit and watch the sun go down. Discuss important changes in your life, read a book or just have a laugh in that garden of memories.
Who ever knew that a garden could provide more than just grass to be mowed every week? Use the wide open space of your back yard to fashion a place full of memories of your children and the time you have spent with them throughout their lives. And, as they get older and leave home, let a walk through that garden remind you in pictures, sound and light of happy times spent with family.