From the Egyptian pyramids to the Memorial Plaza at the former site of the World Trade Center, memorials have historically created secluded places for those grieving to remember and reflect.
In honor of this tradition, Lower Cape Hospice and LifeCareCenter will host a Sept. 21 workshop from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to teach participants how to create their own memorial gardens. Lorraine Perry, the LCFH Healing Arts Coordinator and a bereavement counselor, described the event as an opportunity for harnessing the restorative properties of nature.
“Nature reduces stress; it fosters a sense of dignity, a sense of hope,” Perry said in a Sept. 17 interview. “The garden provides a tribute to a loved one who has passed away and also provides a place for survivors to remember. … It also gives people a chance to commune with nature and to socialize with others that are helping them to build the garden.”
Participants will view a presentation showcasing small and container gardens at LCFH, which features an expansive memorial garden as part of its campus. Perry, along with Phyllis Meole, a horticultural therapist, will facilitate gardening demonstrations and lead the group on a walk through the hospice’s Heritage Garden and Labyrinth.
“I think with the advent of hospice there has been a changed attitude about death and dying in the years after World War II. A lot of the therapies that came out of the war had to do with memorializing veterans and loved ones lost,” Perry added. “Whether they are botanical or city gardens, there’s a huge variety, either organized by large groups of people or private gardens.”
Elements of a memorial garden can include individual containers, trees, labyrinths for meditative walking — an example of which will be on the tour — or any other horticultural or hard structure.
Perry emphasized the restorative properties of the gardens, adding that the term “healing” can be misleading when applied to bereavement.
“‘To heal’ can be interpreted as ‘curative,’” she said. “You don’t want to confuse a curative aspect with something that’s ongoing. So it’s more the restorative aspect of a garden. It provides fellowship; you’re socializing again, you’re coming out and being with others and showing off your garden or helping others to grow a large garden.”
Those wishing to attend the Saturday morning workshop can call 910-796-7991 to register. The $15 registration fee includes resource materials.