Archive for the ‘Favorite Plants’ Category

Last week was mothers day and my 4th without my stillborn son, Tanner. Ave Maria was sung in church and my tears came freely because it was sung at his memorial service too. The day was rainy but beautiful as well. All of his gardens were exploding with rose blossoms to brighten my mothers day.

For Tanner’s first birthday or angelversary, we received many gifts in his honor. My girlfriends living out of state gave me a gift certificate to a plant nursery to purchase what I thought was appropriate for him. We also received money for his birthday to purchase plants. I choose 3 “Little Gem” Magnolia trees, pale pink “Knock Out” roses and “Sissinghurst” verbena groundcover or perennials.

We live in the country with a great deal of land to erect several memory gardens for Tanner. The “Little Gem” magnolia trees were chosen because he is a little gem to us, the roses and verbena were selected because they are drought toloerate, bloom from May until frost and are very easy to grow.

The very first memory garden my husband and I created in Tanner’s honor has matured quite a bit. The roses are soft apricot in color and make for beautiful cutting roses. This variety is called “Pretty Lady”.

Mothers Day seems to be the perfect time to visit his garden to pull some weeds, reflection and cut beautiful roses to bring indoors from his special place.

I will plant more in the fall to fill in the spots where last years drought did a number on the plants.

It is never too late to give a gift in honor of a baby that has died. Angelversaries are usually grieved in silence and receiving a keepsake, gift certificate or memorial plant could help a bereaved parent on a difficult day.

To all the Mothers of Angels……………

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com


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Native wildflowers are very good choices for memory garden plants because they are already acclimated to our temperatures, soil structure and rainfall. Plants incorporated into memory gardens should be very durable and able to withstand harsh climatic conditions, ensuring survival. If you are placing your child’s memory garden into a natural area, or roadside, this is a wonderful location to incorporate wildflowers indigenous to North America. Most are drought tolerate, pest and disease free and attract butterflies.

I will only discuss those wildflower perennials available at your local plant nurseries. The first wildflower is Goldenrod or the scientific name, Solidago. Many people are familiar with this autumn blooming flower, usually found along roads. The color is golden yellow and brightens up the garden in September and October. “Golden Fleece” Goldenrod is sold at plant nurseries in 1 gallon pots. This plant will reach 18 inches tall with a spreading habit. The flower heads make great cutting or pressed flowers.

Giant Goldenrod

The next wildflower appropriate for memory gardens in natural areas is Black-Eyed Susan or the scientific name, Rudbeckia hirta. This perennial is different than the one commonly sold. This species grows on roadsides, fields and meadows reaching a height of 2 to 3 feet, much larger than Rudbeckia fulgida. The plant is spectacular in bloom and are also make wonderful pressed and cutting flowers. The yellow blooms are perfect for a touch of sunshine in your memory gardens.

Rudbeckia hirta.jpg

Another wildflower able to grow in adverse conditions is Amsonia tabernaemontana or the common name, Blue Star. This delicate wildflower bears star-shaped blue blooms in the spring. It will grow 2 to 3 feet in height and 3 feet in spread. Not only does this native flower have blooms of blue, the fall foliage turns a golden yellow lasting until early winter.

Amsonia nadrenska Amsonia ...

The last indiginoues wildflower I highly recommend is Baptisia australis, or the common name, False Indigo. The plant reaches a height of 3 feet and spreads to 4 feet. The beautiful purple blooms occur in April through August.

The False Indigo (Baptisia) is ...

All the above plants are sun loving and tough perennials for your memory gardens in natural areas and locations along the roadside.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com


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Flowers, foliage or berries of plants within your babies’ memory garden or plants received as a sympathy gift can be dried and preserved. Early pregnancy losses, stillbirths and infant death are losses with horrific pain to follow. Flowers are the one thing I wanted delivered everyday after the death of our stillborn son Tanner. I love flowers, the colors, the fragrance and just being surrounded by them. Maybe I thought they would have lifted my spirits. They didn’t, however I was able to be visually content while I grieved for my son.


Drying flowers did not enter my mind after Tanner died. Since we have 2 memory gardens for him and several house plants given in his honor, I am able to dry flowers and foliage whenever I’d like.

This is an easy craft and doesn’t require any special tools or knowledge. Flowers reminiscent of your sweet child can be framed, placed onto handmade cards, create bookmarks or placed into shadowboxes in honor of your baby. If you have flowers from your babies’ funeral or memorial service and they have dried already,they are unable to use in crafts at this point. The flowers need to be dry and flexible to be pressed or flattened.


If you do not have a memory garden, pick flowers that remind you of your child, gemstone colors or some favorites you love.


Make sure they are blotted dry with a paper towel. Place the flowers on wax paper and lay another piece on top. Take several books and lay on top to press. I would keep them overnight so they are nice and flat in the morning.

If the flowers are very delicate I use tweezers to move them. I purchased silicon gel to dry my flowers in the microwave within 30 seconds. If you do not purchase drying gel just keep them in the wax paper for several weeks. It is important to remove all excess moisture from the flowers and foliage before creating your tribute memorial. When removing flowers from the gel, use a paint brush to remove the excess gel.


The flowers I’ve chosen are Helleborus (the large purple blooms), Purple-Leafed Plum, Daffodils, Vinca and the foliage of Loropetalum and Gardenia.


I love to emboss and have invested in a light board, embossing tools and templates. You could easily write your child’s name, use stamps and ink, or purchase scrapbooking or wooden letters. A decorative corner punch was also used.


A frame, paint brush, glue and backdrop paper is needed to finish your angel babies’ artwork. Just a dab of glue is painted on the backside of the flowers to hold. If you have a  steady hand, the glue isn’t necessary.


There are some many wonderful crafts to utilize the flowers from your babies funeral, memorial services or those given as a sympathy gift. The blooms provide a tangible memento of your angel baby to frame, create scrapbook pages, handmade cards, or decoupage onto tile and decorative plates.

Preserve your angels’ flowers as a keepsake reflecting your love and their precious life

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com


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Many Churches will allow members and parishioners to select a small piece of Church grounds to create a memory garden. This is ideal if you live in a town house, condominium or an apartment and have no land to plant. Most Churches welcome these gardens because great care is taken in nurturing them. This will also help cut down maintenance costs for the church

Shortly after the stillbirth of our son Tanner, we joined St. PiusX Church and also their garden committee. We then got started creating Tanner’s Memory Garden in a high traffic area that had an existing holly tree in the middle. 


We planted several different plants testing which varieties perform the best without being irrigated. Winecups, Lamb’s Ear, Dianthus, Lenten Rose (for winter blooms), Daffodils, Lavendar, Boxwoods, Garden Phlox, rose Campion, Anenome, Pincushion Flower, Candytuft and Salvia. After a severe drought in Greensboro last year we know what plants will work best.

Not only did we plant his garden, we installed a mortared stone bench perfect for a child. It was very difficult the first several months seeing other children running through Tanner’s garden, stepping on plants and pushing to sit on the bench. I have eased up quite a bit, however it still annoys me having to pick up cigarette butts and trash from his garden.


Greensboro, NC is located in planting zone 7 , so we are able to grow annuals throughout the year providing year round color in Tanner’s garden. We plant pansies in the winter and periwinkle, marigolds and begonias in the summer months.

4 years after the creation of Tanner’s memory garden, many members are now aware of the reason for its existence. Life is so incredibly precious even in physical absence.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com


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If a child died early in pregnancy or as an infant, think about planting a Star Magnolia Tree in their Memory Gardens. Some bereaved parents may have chosen the star as the theme, symbolizing their precious baby. Even if a memory garden is not considered, this memorial tree to honor a little angel can be planted alone.

Star Magnolias (scientific name-Magnolia Stellata) are small deciduous (loose their foliage in the winter) trees growing 10-15 feet in height and 7-10 feet in width.


This dainty and open tree has white, strap-like petals forming star-shaped blooms in early spring. There are other varieties being developed in order to escape early frosts like “Royal Star”, also having fragrant flowers.


This is a perfect plant to place alongside of a patio, providing dabbled shade and one of the first blooms for your enjoyment.

Overall care for Star Magnolia trees are minimal. The tree is  slow growing, prefers sunny areas, requires little to no pruning, and a moderate supply of water. When this plant has all of its foliage, it is considered a very course textured because the individual leaves are 3-4 inches in length. The foliage also turns a yellow/brown color in the fall.

I personally love the short period of time the flowers start to emerge from the bud. A soft and fuzzy casing gently opens to reveal the pinkish colored flower petals shown below.


This beautiful process occurs early in spring and is a taste of other transformations just days away, like warmer temperatures.


If spring is a significant time reminiscent of your angel, install other plant material with early blooms beneath the tree. Since the Star Magnolia has such a course textured leaf, think about planting something with a fine texture for contrast. some f my suggestions are; crocus and daffodil bulbs, creeping phlox, or pansies (depending on your plant zone). Other plant with evergreen foliage that would work are; candytuft, dianthus or lemon thyme.

If you are thinking about buying a Star Magnolia tree for greiving parents of pregnancy or baby loss make sure they have a place to plant the tree, soil and mulch. This remembrance gift will be located at your local nurseries but before purchasing make sure the plant can be lifted out of the container with ease. It should not have roots sticking out and the soil should not fall apart when lifted. The limbs should not have any injuries and leaves should not have black spots. I love this plant for its ease and what it offers.

Plant a Star for your Angel.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above   www.justacloudaway.com


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Helleborus niger or Christmas Rose is a beautiful plant for memory gardens honoring a baby that has died early in pregnancy or other tragic loss. Sympathy giftsare sometimes difficult to fathom for a child that is supposed to be here. If you know the grieving parents would love an outdoor plant to honor their deceased child, purchase a Helleborus plant for their garden.


Helleborus was used in our son’s memory garden and did quite well in the hot, scorching sun. They are the creamy blooms flanking the entrance. Typically, they favor an area with part shade and protected from wind, yielding a  long lasting cut flower. Helleborus come in creme or mauve colors and can be pressed and dried for scrapbooks. They stay nice and compact and the foliage is dark and evergreen. This is considered a very coarse plant which will add nice contrast next to plants of different textures like daffodils. This is one of my absolute favorite plants to use in my landscape design projects.

Helleborus can grow in zones 4-9 and they bloom when there is little color within the landscape, making it a very good choice for winter interest. Other plants offering early blooms are crocus, jasmine nudiflorum, star magnolia, flowering apricot, camellia japonica and daffodils.

If you know your baby’s gender and would like to create a Memory Garden, visit Gardens for Angels  and Pregnancy Loss Gardens Blooming White to help you on your gardening journey honoring your precious angel. A tipsheet is also available providing helpful information on how to start your babies’ garden. If your sweet little baby died early in pregnancy visit, Zodiac Signs for Pregnancy Loss to give ideas on elements for your gardens and scrapbooks. These ideas will also provide you with more tangible keepsakes to work into your journals, shadowboxes and other places remembering your baby.


The nodding flowers are so gorgeous, the small size of the plant and how beautiful it looks in the winter are all positive. If you know of anyone who grows these plants, ask if you could have one or two because they transplant well.


Above is a past landscape design project where I used Helleborus as an edging plant. When this pretty plant is in prime bloom the display is spectacular brightening this rather dark space.

If you have any questions about memory gardens or scrapbooking for your children in heaven, please feel free to inquire.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com


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daffodil-3-c.jpgI cannot think of a more appropriate sympathy gift for families grieving the loss of their baby. The holidays have come and gone without the patter of little feet or cries coming from the nursery. The cold of winter not only effects us physically, but psychologically for bereaved parents. We tend to stay indoors, the sun hides it warmth and the dreary landscape is gray and asleep.

Daffodil bulbs could be included in a sympathy basket for families grieving the loss of their angel or even given on their babies angelversary. They are easy to grow, not bothered by squirrels, can be placed indoors or in outside containers, and can be planted in almost every plant zone. The best reason to plant a daffodil bulb for your baby in heaven is for its first blooms that break ground giving a ray of much needed sunshine from a long, gloomy winter. Because I drool over any plant, the moment I see the foliage peeking through the mulch is when my spirits are lifted, knowing spring is but a breath away.

daffoldil-2-c.jpgDaffodils come in different sizes, flower color and shape, fragrance and bloom times. If the correct bulbs are selected, your daffodils may start blooming in February (February Gold) on through until the beginning of May.

daf-5-c1.jpgOne great feature of a daffodil or narcissus is the property to naturalize, meaning it multiplies. More and more plants will come up year after year. This magnificent display can be photographed for your babies scrapbook. Make sure you love this plant before purchasing because you will have a difficult time removing them once established.

narcissus-c1.jpgThe one thing that bothers me about this plant is how sad it looks after the blooms have faded. The foliage then turns brown and flops over. When this happens I rake back the mulch around the plants and step on the leaves so they bend over. The foliage is now parallel to the ground and I cover them back up with the mulch (and maybe add a little more). You want to leave the foliage in tact for an amazing display of flowers the following year.

daffodil-c.jpgFor me, there is a connection between the first emerging flower of the new year and the feelings I have for my stillborn son. In a way, Tanner is letting me know that there is hope and joy for us. Winter and feelings associated with the cold and dark days need to exist for us to truly appreciate what we are blessed with. There is a time to sleep and there is a time to live. I see the foliage today:)


Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com


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