Vickroy: Gardens are proof that life goes on
BY DONNA VICKROY email@example.com Twitter: @dvickroy May 15, 2013 5:28PM
Rev. Rod Reinhart church plants a rose bush in a garden at St. Joseph and St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in Blue Island, Illinois, Thursday, May 9, 2013. The garden is dedicated to soldiers who died in the Middle East and also in memory of the kids who have died in our cities here in Chicago and the south suburbs. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
How to create your own memory garden
1. Find a quiet space, under a shady tree or in a quiet corner. Provide privacy with tall flowers, such as butterfly bush or hollyhocks, or hedges.
2. A water feature, such as a fountain or waterfall, can create soothing sounds while blocking out noise.
3. Create an entryway with an arbor, potted plants or topiaries. You can add a path of steppingstones, bricks or pea gravel, perhaps to a seating area.
4. Plant flowers around the focal point.
5. Incorporate a memento of a hobby that the person enjoyed, perhaps a bicycle, golf club or tennis racket.
6. Provide shade, especially over a bench. Use an arbor to grow vines, such as hops, honeysuckle, hyacinth bean and black-eyed Susan. Add a tinkling wind chime.
For more tips and information, read How to Make a Memorial Garden | Garden Guides or visit www.gardenguides.com/122403-make-memorial-garden.html
Updated: June 18, 2013 7:31AM
“God gave us memories that we may have roses in December.”
J. M. Barrie
Since the beginning of time, man has sought comfort in tilling the earth.
Gardens provide sustenance, joy and, increasingly, solace in times of grief.
Flowers, trees and other plants are reminders that life does indeed go on.
About six years ago, the Rev. Rod Reinhart began planting a memory garden on the south side of St. Joseph and St. Aidan Episcopal Church in Blue Island. He started with a couple of rose bushes and dedicated them to local people who had been killed either while serving their
country or as innocent victims
“These flowers are a reminder that even though we have lost these very important people, their life, their spirit and their influence can go on,” Reinhart said.
Each year, he’s added to the collection. So have parishioners, in memory of their lost loved ones. Don Edgen and Eva Payne both planted bushes in memory of their mothers.
The garden, which is flanked by the flagstone church and a paver walkway, now is up to 10 rose bushes, with Easter lilies planted in between.
It is his way of turning something tragic and ugly into something hopeful and beautiful.
He chose roses because roses keep coming back.
“They’re eternal. They’re a symbol of love and fidelity and care for others,” he said. “They mean deep respect.”
Reinhart hardly is alone in his efforts to honor people through nature’s handiwork.
Mother McAuley High School recently dedicated a memory garden to Maureen Breen Putnam, a McAuley graduate who went on to become a French teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system, as well as a translator and author. She died in 2010.
Christ Community Church in Lemont recently unveiled a memory garden in which parishioners can honor loved ones who’ve passed on.
Calling it a place that will provide peace, healing and inspiration, church officials say the garden will eventually include a rectangular gazebo, walkways and groupings of trees and perennials.
And Lake Katherine in Palos Heights invites visitors to sponsor a tree or bench to memorialize their loved ones, while Peoples Animal Welfare Society in Tinley Park has a brick paver garden dedicated to people’s beloved pets that have died.
Lorie Golich, who co-owns Golden Gate Nursery in Frankfort with her brother, said many people today plant trees to memorialize loved ones.
But they also plant them for happy occasions, too.
“We’re selling a lot to people who want to plant them to commemorate the birth of a child or to celebrate an anniversary,” she said.
They recently planted a little leaf linden in the back yard of a woman whose parents were marking their 50th anniversary.
Whether the occasion is happy or sad, Golich said, people tend to prefer flowering trees. Crab apples often live up to expectations.
Reinhart said some of the bushes in his church’s memory garden represent specific people, including Army Capt. David E. Schultz, who died in 2008 while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 25-year-old Blue Island resident succumbed to wounds suffered when the Convoy Support Center at Scania, Iraq, was attacked and he was hit by indirect enemy fire.
Other Blue Island residents who fell to violence include Donovan Bearden, 27, who was shot to death in 2012, and Brian Jones, who was 18 when he fell to gang violence.
But, Reinhart added, anyone who mourns the loss of a loved one is invited to come and pray over the garden.
Reinhart’s brother, Ralph Emerson Reinhart III, died a few years ago from complications caused by poisoning from Agent Orange he had been exposed to while serving in Vietnam.
“This garden is a way to show that God continues to love these people, that the church continues to love these people and that they are still remembered,” he said.