Plants are not just beautiful, tasty or useful for habitat. Many flowers and plants have meaning and send messages when you share them. It’s not secret code exactly but you can include a hidden message. This year has been unusually full of stories of personal loss of friends, family, pets, and people who have had past life influences. It got me thinking about flowers and plants that I commonly give in sympathy or plant as a memorial to honor the person or creature. You could sprinkle these in your home or garden or pick a dedicated section to cluster them into a memorial garden. Each time you pass by or glance at them it will bring the person or pet to mind. You may have seen memorial bricks in garden paths like at the Gilpin County Veterans Memorial outside of the CSU Extension office. These or stepping stones can be blended in a contemplative space which lasts for years.
Some memorial plants you could include in the mountains are:
“Remembrance” columbines (Aquilegia) which are a Plant Select flowering plant
Pink Dianthus says “I will never forget you” and both First Love and Bath Pinks are also quite fragrant.
Forget-me-nots speak for themselves. The brilliant blue flowers are a nice groundcover.
Marigold (annual) means grief with flowers in shades of orange.
Phlox paniculata says “Our souls are united” and are sweetly fragrant.
Thrift (Armeria) communicates sympathy.
Rosemary (indoor plant) shows remembrance.
Zinnia (annual) communicates “I mourn your absence”.
Asters says farewell. Aster alpinus or Aster noci-belgii ‘Alert’ are choices to try for higher altitudes.
An indoor plant which represents grief is aloe.
We all experience loss in our lives and these plants are a kind gesture for people in your lives or for your own remembrance garden or as part of a local community garden. Winter is a good time for reading books related to gardening and flowers. One novel you might read is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh which incorporates some plant meanings for loss and other life events.