Suggestions for creating a memorial garden:
• Don’t worry about your garden fitting design rules or pleasing other people. Do what is most meaningful for you.
• Locate the garden in a spot that gets the appropriate amount of sun and has the right growing conditions for the plants you want to include. Or choose a quiet, private spot or one with a favorite view or meaning to the deceased.
• Consider incorporating favorite plants of the person or people you’re honoring, or plants appropriate to the person’s favorite season. For example, a garden of daffodils and tulips could honor someone who loved spring.
• Think about fragrances that evoke fond memories. Perhaps the scent of lavender or roses reminds you of your loved one.
• If the person you’re honoring had a favorite color, you might create a garden consisting primarily of that hue. Perhaps add silvery plants as an accent.
• Look for plants that share the name of the person you’re honoring, such as black-eyed Susan, Veronica or sweet William.
• Consider including plants with specific meanings: forget-me-nots (memories), rosemary (remembrance), poppies (rest or eternal sleep), yellow tulips (friendship) or pink carnations (I’ll never forget you). For a memorial garden for a child, consider planting daisies (innocence) or white lilies (purity). Sweetheart roses are appropriate for remembering a spouse.
• Include appropriate statuary and decorations, if you wish. Examples are a cat statue for someone who loved cats, a birdbath for a bird lover or a garden whimsy for someone known for his or her sense of humor.
• Add a bench for visitors to sit and reflect. An arbor or trellis covered with a climbing vine can shelter the spot and create a secluded place for contemplation and remembering.
•A fountain or other water feature creates a soothing, comforting environment.
• If you don’t have space for a garden, you can still create a memorial by tying a colorful ribbon around a pot of rosemary to keep indoors, or by planting a few choice perennials in a container that you can keep on a deck or patio and bring inside when the weather gets cold.
— Source: Leonard Perry, University of Vermont Extension