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Our Pet Memory Garden: Honoring Furry Muses

by | May 19, 2022 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care, Garden | 10 comments

Those who follow this blog know about our rose garden tribulations. We live on 13 acres, with lots of area to landscape. It remains a work in progress, and I had several ideas for pet remembrance and plants to honor pets like my Bravo, Magic, Seren and others. Finally, I chose a location for our pet memory garden. I’m sure it will evolve in the coming months and years.

Our Pet Memory Garden: Pet Remembrance Ideas

When I shared pictures on Facebook, several folks posted their own pet memorial flower gardens. What you choose depends on the pets you honor, what plants thrive (or don’t) in your neck of the woods, and individual preferences.

I wanted something small and manageable. A couple of years ago, I created an enclosed flower bed beneath one of our oak trees at the front of the house. It originally held tulips–but in North Texas, tulips don’t repeat bloom well. Although I collected the bulbs, chilled them per instructions, and planted the following spring, nothing grew. My husband suggested roses, but we already have those everywhere else. Also, roses thrive in full sun, not in the shade.

And I wanted our pet garden filled with colorful blossoms that attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and all the critter delights that so enraptured Seren-Kitty and her canine buddies.

Pet Memory Garden Ideas

You can find beautiful pet memory garden stones and monuments. I wanted something more representative–and I’m also an Ebay junkie, browsing far too long over garden decorations. I found garden spinners, a cast metal tree surround seat, wind chimes, and many other treasures. This cast cement garden cat works purr-fectly as a tribute to Seren.

So I hunted for appropriate canine statues. Bravo didn’t look exactly like his Bullmastiff mom, and we could only guess about his dad (maybe Dane?). So I found a cast fiber-stone statue, not too heavy, that came as close as possible to represent Bravo. I don’t think he’d mind.

Honoring the Memory: For All the German Shepherds

One friend commented she’d had many cats over the years and wouldn’t have space for individual stones or statues. Maybe a rock garden, with a name inscribed for each–or a single monument with a place to include each precious name? Those of us who love multiple pets feel the same–but a single representation works for me. One kitty statue for past and future felines, and one German Shepherd to represent all our shepherd buddies.

Plants to Remember Pets

Choose the plants you love. If your current pets have access to the pet memory garden, choose pet-safe varieties. You can find tips to shoo neighbor cats away from gardens in this post.

Our Shadow-Pup doesn’t visit this area, and stays in the fenced back garden, and Karma-Kat only ventures out in his Karma Kart stroller. So I chose plants for color.

There are Asian lilies (toxic to pets!) for orange, and yellow daffodils. Bunches of blue and pink hydrangea bloom in clusters. Dahlia in yellow, orange, and red surround the outer edge. And plumbago, those clusters of blue at the center, grow tall into shrubs that will shelter my spirit pets and shower with color in the heat of Texas summers.

So do you have a pet memory garden? How do you pay tribute to the pets of your past? Do tell!

Future Garden Plans

FCC noticeOur back garden area currently looks like a forest with lots of volunteered native trees. We plan to thin that out, keeping three beautiful oak trees, and showcasing some islands of flowers and color (mostly roses).

Since Texas summers scorch us, and our pets, we may include misters to help cool the area. And also possibly some fun gazebos for future outdoor entertaining. I found these, with great sales and discounts, and love them. Click on the “clearance sale” banner for more info.



 

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10 Comments

  1. Andrea

    Hi, Amy, like your decisions but, of course, any garden is a WIP! I don’t know if I told you this before but I started out planting a peony for each pet and each human I’d lost. Soon, though, I had so many losses I couldn’t afford any more peonies. I wasn’t sure where I would put them anyway. I’ve decided this year though that all of my peonies would pay tribute to everyone I’ve lost and I’m looking for more colors again this year.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Oh Andrea, your garden must be glorious when the peonies bloom. What a beautiful memorial. So sorry for the numbers, though.

      Reply
  2. mollystar

    What a beautiful garden you’ve created, Amy – filled with love and wonderful memories!

    Reply
  3. cakiann

    What a beautiful garden that you have created Mary. It looks like it was created with much feeling and love for your furbabies.

    Reply
  4. Bernadette

    It will be lovely when it’s in full bloom! It can be a tweak of sadness when your memory garden doesn’t thrive and seems to dishonor your precious companions. Growing flowering plants under a tree, especially an oak tree, can be a challenge because flowering plants need water to grow and some sunlight to bloom, both of which can be scarce under a dense oak that drinks up all the water in the soil right around it. But those plants naturally grow under trees in the woods. Try growing your bulbs in containers that you can move around, place under the tree when blooming, then chill in the pots over winter and place in the sun and water them in early spring to encourage them to sprout.

    My memory garden is also a WIP for the changing light as trees have grown and fallen, and includes hardy native plants and bulbs that bloom with greens that gather sunlight before the trees are fully leafed, and flowers that tolerate shade. Yes, too many kitties to represent them all, but I have one favorite sleeping kitty statue that’s napped in the garden for about 30 years, and I sprinkle cremains underneath kitty. I figure I’ll take a big shovel full of soil from underneath if I ever move and I’ll be able to take them with me.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Yes, I selected these plants for their love of shade, and they get about 4 hours in the afternoon and evening. I love the idea of the kitty caretaker in the garden. Sweet, poignant memories, indeed.

      Reply
  5. Caren

    I think this is wonderful and you are blessed to have the space to do that! My brother-in-law has all of their pets buried (and memorialized) in the backyard. Unfortunately, we are on 2nd floor of a condo/apt building and can’t do that.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      You could still have a memorial space in a room or on a shelf. And of course, they remain top of mind and in our hearts no matter what.

      Reply

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