Today we’re visiting with Nikki Byer, who has used gardening to help find comfort after a tragic loss.
I have been gardening my whole life and have a large perennial and vegetable garden in York County, Pennsylvania. On March 11, our oldest daughter passed away, leaving behind her devastated parents and her three children. Our family chose to honor her with a garden, because when she was well she had a beautiful garden. We decided to create a pond with a waterfall, fill it with pretty fish and plants, and plant a tree in her honor. It has provided us with a great deal of healing and comfort.
The pond is near our patio, where we can sit and listen to the sound of water.
We chose a serviceberry tree (Amelanchier, Zones 4–9) as her memorial tree because it will bring in birds and be pretty in all seasons. Her children put a tiny amount of her ashes under the tree. The special rock says, “Your wings were ready, but our hearts were not.”
A frog has taken up residence in our pond, and the plants have thrived.
This is a view of the pond and the patio. Wind chimes from her funeral hang nearby, and when the breeze blows past I hear her whisper. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9) has made a pretty carpet around New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri, Zones 10–11 or as annual), Heuchera (Zones 4–8) and Portulaca grandiflora (moss rose, annual).
Some of the plants in this picture are black-leaved Canna ‘Australia’ (Zones 7–10 or as a tender bulb), hardy water lily (Nymphaea), parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum, Zones 6–10), and variegated society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea ‘Variegata’, Zones 7–11).
The angel statue was a gift from the couple who built the pond for us. Plants are ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum (Sedum spectibilis ‘Autumn Joy’ Zones 3–9) and New Guinea impatiens.
The garden pole is cheerful and reminds visitors to dream and smile.
‘Little Bunny’ miniature fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny’, Zones 5–9)
Aztec arrowhead (Sagittaria montevidensis, Zones 8–11) bloomed most of the summer.
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