April is National Garden Month and one way your funeral home can get involved is by creating a community memorial garden. A memorial garden is a meaningful way to honor the lives of a loved one, and the garden gives families a place for quiet reflection and inspiration.
What a Memorial Garden Brings to the Community
- Nature helps us heal. Science has shown that a little time spent with Mother Nature can go a long way in improving our mood. Something as simple as fresh air can help release serotonin, and natural sunlight leads to more melatonin and Vitamin D — all of which help improve our mental wellbeing. On top of that, spending more time in nature reduces rumination, a type of thought process that makes a person focus solely on the negative.
- New rituals. By creating a community garden, you also are opening up the opportunity to create new rituals and activities for families. Getting families actively involved in creating and maintaining the garden will give them a new sense of purpose. Science shows that creating new traditions is one of the healthiest ways to grieve.
- New friendships. Facing a loss often leads to a sense of loneliness — especially in elderly communities. A community garden gives people the opportunity to build new friendships and helps create a stronger sense of community within your town.
- Show your green side. Creating a community garden also shows that your funeral home is committed to providing an eco-friendly/green experience for families. It’s a simple step toward promoting a positive image within the community.
- Ash scattering. A garden also gives your funeral home and families a scenic place to scatter the ashes of a loved one.
- Memorial services. It’s also a place you can host outdoor spring memorial services to honor the memories of loved ones on anniversaries and other important dates.
Ideas for Getting Started
Below you’ll find some ideas to help get your community garden up and running.
- Land. Choosing where to build your garden is the first step. If you aren’t able to use any land at your own funeral home, try reaching out to others who would be willing to partner up or donate a plot of land. Reach out to your local cemeteries, park districts, community colleges, hospice centers, and nursing homes to see if they would be willing to help pitch in on the project.
- Memorial benches. A memorial bench placed within the garden can give families a place to quietly sit and reflect. You also can have a meaningful quote or a loved one’s name inscribed on the bench.
- Memorial bricks or stones. Using small bricks or stones inscribed with the names of loved ones is another way to honor their memory. They can be placed throughout the garden to give each family a specific spot to visit.
- Fountain. A small memorial fountain can make a great garden centerpiece for families to gather around.
- Types of plants. The types of plants you decide to fill your garden with are up to you and your families. Some ideas for inspiration include a plot of wildflowers, a traditional flowerbed filled with memorial flowers like lilies, tulips, forget-me-nots, and daffodils, or even a vegetable garden. Mix and match your garden beds based on feedback from the community. You also can incorporate the flowers into mementos to send families at a later time.
- Birdfeeder or butterfly garden. Installing a birdfeeder or butterfly garden puts the finishing touch on your memorial garden. It will fill it with life and create a truly peaceful place for families to visit.