Memorial Plants?

On Monday I posted about the dish garden that was given to me to commemorate–or commiserate over–a loss.

A few weeks ago I posted about my ‘Snow Fountain’ weeping cherry which we planted to honor my Dad’s passing.

So all this posting about “memorial” plants has got me thinking about plants as a way of remembering people. It’s not unusual, of course, to plant a tree to remember someone. But what really got me thinking was a comment I made in response to a comment on my “Dish Garden” post.

If you recall, the second part of that post was about a “deconstructed” dish garden that a neighbor had given me. What I really didn’t say in that post was that she received that garden when her husband passed away–so I was sort of the repository of plants given in his memory–and that was fine because I knew him well and liked him very much.

In my comment I said that eventually my neighbor would move away or pass away as well and all I would have as a memory would be those plants, making them true “memorial” plants.

I wonder how other people feel about this. Do you find it creepy or comforting? I know that out in the garden I have lots of plants from folks that are “no longer with me” in one sense or another. Many have just moved away. Others I have lost touch with, for whatever reason. But whenever I see those plants, I think of the various people with fondness.

So why should it be any different with house plants? For many years, my longest lived house plant was a begonia that was a cutting from a neighbor. That neighbor is long gone, but I still referred to the begonia as “Mr. So-and So’s” begonia.

Now my longest lived house plant is a ficus that I refer to as “Grandma’s ficus,” for obvious reasons (I hope). It was given to my Grandmother on her 90th birthday in 1988. It is now mine (Gram wasn’t really into plants. I inherited it shortly thereafter, probably no later than early 1989).

Obviously I do not find this creepy at all. Then again, I work in a job where part of it is helping people who have just lost a loved one plan their funeral. So during the pandemic, especially, I have talked about death a lot to a lot of people. It’s been gut wrenching.

Sometimes, we are blessed that we do have plants to help us return to normalcy.

2 thoughts on “Memorial Plants?

  1. tonytomeo February 27, 2021 / 2:28 am

    Oh goodness! Just about everything in my garden has history. It all came from somewhere or someone. I still grow the rhubarb that my great grandfather gave me when I was about four, and the Iris pallida from my great grandmother’s garden. Now that I am getting older, there is getting to be too much of it. I intend to plant colonies of iris from various sources at work, not as formal memorials, but as my own private memorials. I know they will be there for a long time, and get divided and moved around over the years. I have planted memorial trees there too, again, not as formal memorials. I do not find it creepy at all. I find it comforting, and it makes my work more homey, even though I will not be there forever. It is gratifying to think that my people are indirectly leaving their mark on such an important place.

  2. gardendaze February 27, 2021 / 4:52 am

    I am quite sure that when ever I move, the only history I will leave here is perhaps the trees and and if I am lucky, the shrubs on the periphery. Everything else will be bulldozed for grass. People don’t want anything they have to maintain. And grass is easy to pay someone else to take care of.

    Luckily, although it is not my day job, I have helped some others with their plantings. I have one neighbor who still thanks me every time she sees me for something in her yard. Not quite the same as a memorial, but, I am glad it’s bringing her joy.


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