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Published July 05, 2009, 12:00 AM

Memorial gardens offer tribute to loved ones

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Whenever JoAnn Fleischhacker looks out of her kitchen window, she thinks of her mom.

By: Associated Press, INFORUM

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Whenever JoAnn Fleischhacker looks out of her kitchen window, she thinks of her mom.

Fleischhacker’s mother died 15 years ago. To honor her, Fleischhacker planted a tree in her yard.

“It’s not a prairiefire crabapple, it’s Mom’s tree,” said Fleischhacker, assistant production manager of Thomsens Greenhouse & Garden Center, St. Joseph, Minn.

Memorial gardens, plants and trees are often planted at people’s homes to signify an important person, pet or event, said Clarissa Cooper, landscape designer, Scenic Specialties Landscape Center, St. Joseph. Cooper taught a class on memorial gardens recently, detailing design ideas and plant and flower suggestions.

Memorial plantings are becoming popular, said LaRae Possin, co-owner of Rosewood Nursery & Floral, Sartell, Minn. After a death, friends give everything from trees to bird baths to help the grieving family, she said.

People find comfort in such offerings for a reason.

“It’s a living and growing garden,” Cooper said. “It provides a way to continually remember someone who was close to you. The garden lives on.”

The gardens can include plants and flowers transplanted from the honored one’s garden. Plants that have significance to the loved one are also often included, Cooper said.

“A lot of times people will remember that grandma had a really big garden,” Cooper said as an example. “Sometimes you can include edible plants in a small space” of the garden.

Planting trees to honor someone is also an option, Fleischhacker said. Flowering crabapple trees are especially popular, she said.

One problem can arise, though, Fleischhacker said. If a family moves, the tree more than likely will not go with them.

One couple found a remedy to that problem, she said. They planted an autumn blaze maple tree at the former home of their father after asking permission from the current owners.

The tree gives off shade in the summer, which their dad loved, Fleischhacker said. It also turns beautiful colors in the fall, which recognizes their father’s autumn birthday, she said.

Landscape designers also have helped with Mary gardens – gardens dedicated to the Virgin Mary and prayer.

There are no rules for these religious gardens, but they often feature all white plants, Fleischhacker said.

“It is absolutely beautiful,” she said.


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