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Memorial Service Ideas | Garden Theme

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Memorial Servive Ideas: A Fitting Farewell

Looking for memorial service ideas for a loved one who has passed away, and who was known for his or her love of plants and nature, and perhaps even gardening?

Look no further.  As part of Love Lives On’s exclusiveA Fitting Farewell” series, we have prepared for you this guidebook filled with memorial service ideas for a lady who was in life “a lovely rose,” or a gentleman who was a strong pillar in his family and community, “a mighty oak” if you will.

We have organized this guidebook into the following sections.  Each section contains the very best ideas centred on a gardening theme to inspire your creative juices when it comes to planning a memorial service for your loved one that is indeed A Fitting Farewell for a Lovely Rose or a Mighty Oak:

Why it’s Important to Work with Professionals

When it comes to planning an end-of-life ceremony, it’s highly advisable to engage the services of experienced professionals, like a funeral director and a celebrant, for 3 vital reasons.

(1)  They are Skilled Facilitators

Unlike weddings where only one person’s opinion matters, (i.e. the bride), many family members typically want to have a say when it comes to end-of-life ceremonies.

Since a time of loss is a stressful time for a family, it’s often difficult to arrive at a consensus about what a fitting ceremony looks like.  It may even instigate family in-fighting and reopen old wounds.

Engaging the services of a highly-trained funeral director and celebrant will greatly help diffuse the pressure of the situation.  They’re experts at facilitating productive conversations about how to best design a personalized ceremony that honours your loved one’s values, relationships and legacy.

(2)  They are Experts in Creating “A Fitting Farewell”

An end-of life ceremony should never be a “cookie-cutter” experience.  It should be as unique and special as your loved one was.

Funeral directors and celebrants are able to openly listen to all ideas expressed by the family and curate them.  These ideas can then be incorporated into the funeral ceremony.

A skilled professional will provide guidance about which ideas work best, based on their years of experience. They’ll also offer specific and creative suggestions of their own to help the ceremony design process.

They’re truly committed to ensuring that your loved one’s life is honoured in a meaningful way and that it’s a rich experience for everybody who participated with this final goodbye.

(3)  They Allow You to Focus on Saying Goodbye

If you chose to organize and run the service yourself, you’ll have to deal with the hundred-and-one logistical issues that arise when coordinating an important event.

It’s important to the grieving process to focus all your attention on saying goodbye to your loved one.

DIY ceremonies may save you a few dollars, but aren’t worth it in the long-run because you’ll miss out on the catharsis that comes with being in the moment and focusing on saying goodbye.

Instead, you’ll be distracted by the multitude of tasks that come with ensuring that the service runs smoothly.  You may later deeply regret this choice, and wished that you hired a professional to handle everything instead.

How do I find Caring Professionals in My Area?

We recommend searching Love Lives On’s Business Directory for local funeral homes and celebrants.

Most funeral homes are happy to work in tandem with a celebrant of your choosing.  (But it’s best to ask at the outset to avoid any misunderstanding.)

Some funeral homes even have their own qualified celebrants on staff.  For example, Altmeyer Funeral Homes in the US has a team of skilled celebrants, including Sarah Barickman, to handle your service customization needs.

Want to Learn More About the Work that Funeral Celebrants Do?

Celebrants are passionate about helping families that have lost a loved one.  To learn more about the important work they do, we recommend reading:

A comprehensive guide to all your funeral celebrant questions by Cyndy Neilly-Spence, a Master Life Cycle Celebrant.

How to plan a ceremony with the help of a celebrant.

Memorial Service Venues

A memorial service lends itself to a wider variety of venue options and allows for more flexibility than a funeral service, since it may be held many months after your loved one has passed away, and the body of your loved one is not present during this type of service.  (However, his or her cremated ashes may be.)

Without the logistical restrictions that arise with a traditional funeral service — (i.e. the need for a timely burial + body transportation) — you’re able to consider a wider array of places that were particularly significant to your loved one as a potential setting for the memorial service.

When considering venue options for the memorial service, it’s a good idea to first have a rough estimate of how many people will be invited so that you can ensure that the venue being considered has enough space to accommodate your potential guest list.

Having an estimated headcount will also help you determine whether or not audio equipment will be needed at the memorial service.  Will guests sitting in the back row be able to hear what’s being said?

If you decide that audio equipment is required, be sure to ask management at any venue that you are considering whether or not audio equipment can be accommodated in the space (e.g. is there enough space and power outlets).  You should also ask if audio equipment is included in the cost of the venue rental, or if you have to supply your own.

When it comes to a memorial service, commonly used venues include a local church or chapel, funeral home, community centre or banquet hall.

Search our Business Directory to find a funeral home in your area to use as a memorial service venue.

While these, of course, are still options for your loved one’s memorial service, here are a few memorial service venue ideas that would make the perfect setting for A Fitting Farewell for a Lovely Rose or a Mighty Oak.

When planning a special memorial service for a loved one who was known for his or her green thumb, what better setting for a memorial service than a place where plants are the primary focus — like a beautiful, large greenhouse.

Memorial Service Venues: Greenhouses

If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option than renting out a greenhouse as the memorial service venue, an outdoor reception in your garden, or a friend’s or relative’s garden, could also make a beautiful setting for a garden-themed memorial service.  (Obviously, the garden would need to be large enough to accommodate the event and well-maintained.)

Transform your backyard into a magical garden party with items like twinkle lights, candles, balloons and streamers, and beautiful furniture (which you can rent for the day).

If you own or rent a projector, you can create a slideshow full of special photos of your loved one throughout his or her life to project onto a makeshift screen. Simply fold a white sheet over a clothesline and you have your own projector screen (see photo in the bottom right).

Memorial Service Venues: Private Gardens

Gardening is peaceful, emotionally fulfilling, and leaves the world more beautiful with each flower planted. This is probably the reason why so many restaurants have chosen to model their interior decor after a garden.

Do you know of a restaurant in your area that fits this description? This would make a perfect setting for a garden-themed memorial service.

If you are expecting more than 20 guests to attend the memorial service and reception meal, you may need to inquire if you can rent the restaurant exclusively for your private event.  Alternatively, you can also see if you can reserve a certain part of the restaurant where there is privacy for you and your guests.

Either way, a garden-themed restaurant is a wonderful place to share an assortment of your loved one’s favourite dishes.

Memorial Service Venues: Restaurants

Another great location for a plant lover’s memorial service is a botanical garden or in a local park that is full of gorgeous plants, trees and flowers.

Bring a portable BBQ, decorations and portable patio furniture and have your memorial service in nature.

If you live near a botanical garden and are interested in hosting your loved one’s memorial service there, contact them well in advance to inquire about their policies and whether or not they are prepared to accommodate private events.

Memorial Service Venues: Botanical Gardens and Parks

If your loved one was passionate about growing their own grapes to make their own wine, or just enjoyed a glass of wine after an afternoon of gardening, a vineyard would make a beautiful setting for his or her memorial service.

If you are fortunate enough to live close to a vineyard, give them a call and inquire about whether they can accommodate your private memorial service event and reception meal.

Cremation Urns

If your loved one will be cremated and you would like to have the ashes present at the memorial service, you might be interested in purchasing a cremation urn to display his or her ashes at the service.  (It’s entirely up to the family whether or not to have the ashes present at the memorial service and is a matter of personal preference.)

Cremation urns come in hundreds of different shapes, sizes, colours, materials and designs that you can choose from. There are countless stunning cremation urns that beautifully fit the garden theme.

A traditional cremation urn with floral details would make a fitting urn for a loved one’s gardening-themed memorial service. These stunning cremation urns showcased in the images below feature floral designs and examples of the types of urns you can purchase.

From left to right, these memorial service urns are available for purchase from Amazon, Elegant Urns, Amazon, Vision Medical and In the Light Urns.

Memorial Service Urns

On the other hand, you could purchase a more whimsical cremation urn that has an abstract design shape or design that reflects your loved one’s passion for gardening.  In the image below are some ideas to inspire you.

From left to right, this first abstract, ultra-feminine cremation urn is available for purchase on Stardust Memorials. This cremation urn features pretty pink flowers scattered across the urn’s surface.  This “Paris Garden” looks like it was inspired by a Monet painting.

You may wish to select this cremation urn as a wonderful tribute to a woman who appreciated flowers, gardens, nature, and the colour pink.

Next, this unique ceramic rose basket cremation urn features a delicate bundle of roses atop a white ceramic oval basket and is available at Urns Northwest.

Next, this handmade butterfly garden cloisonne urn features a mosaic of delicate butterflies and garden greenery and is available for purchase at Memorial Blessings.

This vibrant blue flower cloisonne cremation urn boasts delicate blue and green floral details and offers a more abstract nod to the garden theme.  This memorial service urn is available at Safe Passages Urns.

Finally, the ceramic “Garden of Eden” cremation urn features different garden elements, including bunches of flowers and dragonflies, and is available at Memorials.

Memorial Service Urns

Search our Business Directory to find a crematorium, cemetery, or mausoleum near you.

Memorial Service Invitations – Printed

When you’re considering invitation options, you can choose to either send out printed invitations to guests or electronic invitations via social media or e-mail.   You may also do a mixture of both, with consideration given to how best communicate with the recipient of the memorial service invitation.

First, consider who you’re inviting to the memorial service and their level of comfort using digital technology.  For example, millennials tend to be more tech-savvy than older generations.

Second, consider the issue of deliverability.  Adequate time is needed to print and post a physical memorial service invitation.  With electronic invitations, does the recipient of the memorial service invitation reliably check his or her social media or e-mail account?

Third, consider whether or not the recipient would appreciate receiving a printed memorial service invitation because he or she would keep it as a meaningful keepsake.  (This is particularly true for close family members and friends, as well as elderly guests.)

There are a number of absolutely fantastic websites that offer funeral printing services where you can customize designs for your loved one’s memorial service event and have them printed and shipped directly to your address.  For a complete list of our favourite websites and sample wording for different kinds of memorial services, check out our Ultimate Funeral Reception Invitation Guide.

In the image below, we created sample designs for memorial service invitations using one of our favourite design platforms, Canva.

Canva is free to sign up for and has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor with hundreds of stunning, completely customizable invitation templates to choose from.

Although not all design elements are free, they offer a huge variety of free graphics, illustrations and photos to help you customize your memorial service invitation template.

If you are planning a memorial service with a garden theme, Canva offers many garden-inspired elements.  (These elements are labelled in the drag-and-drop menu, so make sure to keep this in mind when designing.)

The following templates are from Canva and were edited to reflect the garden theme.  All element used are free on Canva and royalty-free stock photos sites like Pixabay and Pexels.  You can even order your memorial service invitations directly from Canva, who will print and ship your final design to you.

The tone of the visual design of the invitation should reflect whether the memorial service will be a formal or casual affair, which will help guests decide how to dress and prepare.

The first two sample invitation designs below were made for a memorial service where a full, sit-down meal will be served following a formal service.  The example on the left uses formal language, with a sophisticated font choice and colour palette indicating that this event is a traditional affair.

The example on the right was designed and written in a more informal, personal and conversational tone.  The design is colourful and uses more playful fonts that work with the tone to indicate that the event will be a more casual affair.

Memorial Service Invitations

You can also specify the dress code for the memorial service on the invitation.  For example, for a garden-themed memorial service, consider asking guests to wear floral-inspired prints to the memorial service on the invitation.

This next set of garden-theme memorial service invitations feature text options that are appropriate for a memorial service that will be followed by a reception serving light refreshments only, such as canapés.

Memorial Service Invitations

These next examples of invitations are for events with a formal memorial service only, (i.e not followed by a reception). Again, these memorial service invitations include design elements that emphasize the garden theme.

Memorial Service Invitations

Regardless of whether the memorial service that you’re planning is a formal or informal event, there are a few essential elements that you must include in the memorial service invitation:

  • The first name of the deceased (and maybe the last name too).
  • The date of the memorial service and reception.
  • The name of the venue and the address.  (Be sure to include both the memorial service venue and the reception venue if they are in different locations.)
  • The start and end times for the memorial service and reception.  (Make sure that you confirm these details with the venue(s) before printing your invitations!)
  • What food or drinks will be provided so that guests know what to expect and can plan accordingly.  If you are planning a “pot-luck,” the invitation should specify what you want guests to bring.
  • If the memorial service and reception are being held at an outdoor location, your invitation should include details about the backup plan in the event of bad weather.
  • The memorial service invitation should also have the name of the person to contact, along with his or her phone number or e-mail address, so that guests know who they should call or e-mail with any questions, or to RSVP.  (RSVP’s are important so that you can get an accurate guest count and make sure you plan for sufficient food and drinks at the memorial service reception.)

Memorial Service Invitations – Via Social Media

Online invitations have a few advantages over printed invitations.  For one, if you are tight for time with sending your invitations, electronic invites are the way to go.  Invites are immediately delivered at the click of a button and you don’t have to worry about print time, postage delays or lost mail.

Not only this, but electronic invites are often more cost-effective than printed invitations as you don’t have to factor in the fees associated with ink, paper and postage.

If you know that the demographic being invited to your loved one’s memorial service are active online, or it is an intimate affair and you can follow up via phone call to ensure that everyone received their electronic invitation, this is a super easy way to go.

You can create a unique social media invitation using Meme-orial in 3 simple steps.  Instantly share a personalized, one-of-a-kind social media inviting friends and family to a memorial service to celebrate his or her life.

Simply select a photo of your loved one, add a personalized message and select a background that reflects the theme of the memorial service.  

You can choose to write the details of the event in place of the personalized message (like in the example on the left), or write the details of the memorial service in the social media post that accompanies the Meme-orial (like in the example on the right).

Once you’ve created the Meme-orial, share it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter with the click of a button.

Memorial Service Invitations

Memorial Service Programs

Creating a memorial service program for A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak is a project in the planning process that you want to make sure to devote extra time and care to.  Guests that attend the memorial service may keep the beautiful program as a keepsake item.

There are certain pieces of information that are customarily included in a memorial service program.  A typical memorial service program includes:

  • The full name of the deceased.
  • The deceased’s dates of birth and death.
  • A photo of the deceased.
  • The date, time and place of the memorial service.
  • The full name of the Officiant who will be presiding over the memorial service.
  • The full name of the person who will be delivering the eulogy.  You may choose to include the relationship of this person to the deceased.
  • The titles of songs (and the artists) that will be played or sung during the memorial service.
  • The titles of any poems or readings (and the authors) that will be shared during the memorial service.

You may include the following further information in the memorial service program, but note that the more pages you have in the program, the higher the printing costs:

  • A brief biography of the deceased’s life, which may include notable achievements, hobbies, favourite song, flowers, poem, book or TV show.
  • Photographs of the deceased at different stages of his or her life, or important occasions.
  • Complete order of service (i.e. everything that will take place during the service).
  • List of surviving family members.
  • Names or pictures of treasured pets.
  • A ‘thank you’ message from the family to the guests that attended the memorial service, along with acknowledgments of any special contributions.

For a professionally formatted and printed memorial service program, consider using a professional printing service.

Here are some examples of memorial service programs that we’ve made to show you how beautiful they can look.

Memorial Service Programs

Easily download the background image used above in this memorial service program template here.

Memorial Service Programs

Easily download the background image above used in this memorial service program template here.

Search our Business Directory for more unique funeral ideas to personalize a memorial service.

Memorial Service Flowers

Think outside the flowerbox (pun intended!) when it comes to selecting memorial service flowers.  There are lots of unique flower arrangements that can be made using vegetables, gardening tools, and unique containers that would play beautifully into the overall garden theme.

Below are images of our favourite flower arrangements for A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak.

These memorial service flowers may be a little too intricate to achieve on your own, but a local florist would be able to use his or her expertise to help you make your vision come to life.  Search our Business Directory to find a florist in your area.

To find a local florist, please click here to search the Love Lives On Business Directory.

Memorial Service Flowers

If you’re looking to go for a more DIY floral project, these garden themed floral arrangements are super easy to put together using everyday items that you can find in your garden shed.

From a pair of gardening boots to a garden toolbox,  a wheel-barrow to a watering can, these regular gardening tools can be turned into vases and displays for your memorial service flower arrangements.

You can also make this DIY flower arrangement in the shape of the initials of your loved one’s name (see the centre image below of the letter ‘J’).

Memorial Service Flowers

You can also buy regular flower arrangements and tie them into the gardening theme by adding items like a trowel, burlap sack, rake, or watering can.  This is an easy way to transform a regular floral arrangement into one that screams “garden!”

Memorial Service Flowers

Want to bring an extra-personal touch to your memorial service flowers?  Learn the meanings behind 10+ popular funeral flowers to help you choose flower types and colours that reflect the message you are trying to convey with your flower arrangement.

Memorial Service Music

A memorial service to honour the incredible life and legacy of your loved one would be incomplete without music.

Typically, you would select memorial service music to play at various points throughout the service.  For example, you may select your loved one’s favourite song to play when guests are entering the venue.  You also might wish to play a song that reflects his or her personality or passion as guests are leaving.

Here are some memorial service songs that would make the perfect memorial service music for a gardener or nature lover:

“Though tonight I can feel you here.  I get these notes.  On butterflies and lilac sprays.  From girls who just have to tell me.  They saw you somewhere.”

“Tell me if Heaven has a garden.  Could you take my mama there.  Walk her slowly to your flower bed.  Pick her roses for all the words unsaid.  Kiss her gently on her soft cheek.”

“I come to the garden alone.  While the dew is still on the roses.  And the voice I hear, falling on my ear.  The Son of God discloses.”

“I took the supermarket flowers from the windowsill.  I threw the day old tea from the cup.  Packed up the photo album Matthew had made.  Memories of a life that’s been loved.”

“I see trees of green, red roses too.  I see them bloom for me and you.”

“Show me a garden that’s bursting into life.”

“The Summer’s gone and all the flowers are dying.  ‘Tis you ’tis you must go and I must bide.  But come ye back when Summer’s in the meadow.  Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow.”

“All the flowers that you planted mama.  In the back yard.  All died when you went away.  I know that living with you baby was sometimes hard.  But I’m willing to give it another try.”

“That ache in your heart it don’t know what to do.  But flowers in our door still bring a smile to you.  So grab on to some light.  Every corner that you can.  The light keeps you going, though the dark helps you to understand.”

“I made wine from the lilac tree.  Put my heart in its recipe.  It makes me see what I want to see.  And be what I want to be.”

We’ve also compiled a list of 200+ of the best funeral songs for funerals, memorial services and celebrations of life.

If your loved one was religious and you wish to incorporate some religious sentiments into his or her memorial service, we also have a list of 50+ of the best funeral gospel songs.

If you know of any music that would be appropriate for a memorial service and relate to the garden theme, please share them with us in the comments below!  We’ll be sure to add them to A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak.

Memorial Service Songs

Although recorded music is both cheaper and easier to find, live musicians can add a more intimate touch to a memorial service.

Live music is one of our favourite memorial service ideas since it can really add a deeply personal dimension and emotionality.

Do you know someone with a beautiful voice or who can play an instrument?  You might consider asking whether they would be willing to perform a song during your loved one’s memorial service.

If you have someone who you would like to perform a song at your loved one’s memorial service, you can browse our list of 200+ of the best funeral songs or 50+ of the best funeral gospel songs to get some ideas for song choices.

Your loved one’s favourite song would be a beautiful choice for this performance.  Alternatively, do you have a song that you’ve found that reminds you of your loved one?  This would also be an excellent song choice as well.

You can also have memorial service songs that all the guests can sing along to.  Just be sure to include the lyrics in the memorial service program.

Memorial Service Readings

Typically, a memorial service will include one or two readings to pay tribute to your loved one, to celebrate his or her life and memory.

When selecting memorial service readings, try to select those that best reflect the person you are honouring.

If your loved one was religious, you could consider reading a meaningful passage from the bible.  You can select popular bible verse for funerals or consider reading a passage from your loved one’s favourite religious writer. For example, there are beautiful passages from C.S. Lewis’s “A Grief Observed” that would be appropriate memorial service readings.

However, memorial service readings don’t have to be religious.  Since the readings you choose should reflect your loved one’s life, if he or she wasn’t religious, secular readings would be more appropriate.

If you’re looking for help crafting a ceremony that truly reflects the personality of the individual being honoured, you might be interested in hiring the help of a funeral celebrant.

Funeral celebrants are ceremony experts who specialize in creating and officiating personalized ceremonies. They collaborate closely with families and loved ones and place careful attention to the personalization of the ceremony experience through words, poems, readings, music and ritual.

Search our Business Directory to find a local celebrant to help you plan and officiate a personalized memorial service for a loved one.

Memorial Service Readings for Children

Memorial service readings can be the perfect way to give children that were important to the deceased, (such as grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc.), a role in the memorial service.  We have found the 3 best memorial service readings for children and teens to read or recite.

~

This first reading is an excerpt from the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  This beautiful reading leaves a powerful message about leaving a mark on the world and leaving it a more beautiful place.  It would be the perfect addition to a garden themed memorial service.

Excerpt from Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said.
A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made.
Or a garden planted.
Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die,
and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.
It doesn’t matter what you do, he said,
so as long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it
into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”

~

This next short, but poignant, memorial service reading reminds us that there can be no love and happiness in life without grief and sadness in death.  However, we can take comfort in knowing that beyond death, we will meet our loved ones again in heaven.

There is No Night Without a Dawning

By Helen Steiner Rice

No winter without a spring
And beyond the dark horizon
Our hearts will once more sing…
For those who leave us for a while
Have only gone away
Out of a restless, care worn world
Into a brighter day

~

This next memorial service reading is by famed conservationist, John Muir.  He states that death is just as beautiful as life, and part of the natural order.

Nature

By John Muir

Let children walk with Nature,
let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life,
their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows,
plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star,
and they will learn that death is stingless indeed,
and as beautiful as life.

~

This next touching memorial service reading was written in the voice of the deceased person, sending a message to the people they left behind about how he or she wants to be remembered.

After Glow

Author Unknown

I’d like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an after glow
of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the sun
of happy memories
that I leave when life is done

~

Do you have young children that want to do very short memorial service readings?  Here are some of our favourite short readings for little ones that fit with a garden themed memorial service.  Some of these short readings are humorous in nature, which is perfect for little ones.

Live Each Day

Author Unknown

Live each day as if it were your last,
and garden as though you will live forever.

~

We Garden!

Author Unknown

We come from the earth,
we return to the earth,
and in between we garden.

~

Killing Plants

By J. C. Raulston

If you are not killing plants,
you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener.

~

Flowers

By Helene Cixous

Everything ends with flowers.

~

Reverence for Gardens

Scottish Proverb

Love this Earth as if you won’t be here tomorrow;
show reverence for your Garden as if you will be here forever.

~

Immortality

By Gladys Taber

There is a kind of immortality in every garden.

~

Immortality

By Herbert V. Prochnow

Old gardeners never die.
They just spade away and then throw in the trowel.

~

Immortality

Author Unknown

Old gardeners never die, they just go to seed.
Old gardeners never die, they are just pruned back hard and repotted.

~

Memorial Service Readings for Adults

This memorial service reading expresses the sentiment that death is a natural part of life and is perfect for a garden themed memorial service.

Tree of Life

By Albert Einstein

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation.
For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.

~

This next memorial service reading compares missing your loved one to visiting the “Garden of Longing.”  It also expresses the feelings of grief and unanswered questions that plague us when someone we love passes away.

I Know Where the Garden is Longing

Author Unknown

I know where the garden of longing is
I’ve been there many a time
To see your beautiful smiling face
And hold your hand in mine

We walk the paths where flowers bloom
And watch the butterflies
We share some childhood memories
Of yesterday’s gone by

Many tears I’ve cried since you went away
My life has changed so much
Without you here to share with me
Or feel your gentle touch

I miss your smile, your laughter too
I miss those days gone by
I often sit and wonder
About all the reasons why.

~

This is a perfect piece of scripture from Isaiah 51:3 for a garden themed memorial service as it references the Garden of Eden.  It is a great example of a religious memorial service reading.

Isaiah 51:3

The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
He will make deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

~

This next memorial service reading is a beautiful reflection on how truly special your loved one was.  It captures the beautiful relationship that you and your loved one shared.  (Please note that this reading can be modified to match the gender of the deceased.)

Your Spirit

By Tram-Tiara T. Von Reichenbach

I know that no matter what
You will always be with me.
When life separates us
I’ll know it is only your soul
Saying goodbye to your body
But your spirit will be with me always.
When I see a bird chirping on a nearby branch
I will know it is you singing to me.
When a butterfly brushes gently by me so care freely
I will know it is you assuring me you are free from pain.
When the gentle fragrance of a flower catches my attention
I will know it is you reminding me
To appreciate the simple things in life.
When the sun shining through my window awakens me
I will feel the warmth of your love.
When I hear the rain pitter patter against my window sill
I will hear your words of wisdom
And will remember what you taught me so well’
That without rain trees cannot grow
Without rain flowers cannot bloom
Without life’s challenges I cannot grow strong.
When I look out to the sea
I will think of your endless love for your family.
When I think of mountains, their majesty and magnificence
I will think of your courage for your country.
No matter where I am
Your spirit will be beside me
For I know that no matter what
You will always be with me.

~

This next bible verse from the book of Psalms is a popular memorial service reading.  It highlights the fact that our lives are mortal, like the rest of the natural world that we occupy.  It is another beautiful memorial service reading for a garden themed service that is also religious in tone.

Psalm 103: 8-17

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
Nor will he harbour his anger for ever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
Or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is his love for those who fear him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
For he knows how we are formed,
He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass,
He flourishes like a flower of the field;
The wind blows over it and it is gone,
And its place remembers it not more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
The Lord’s love is with those who fear him.

~

This gorgeous memorial service reading leaves guests with the message that as long as you think of your loved one, he or she will never truly be gone. For as long as someone thinks of you, you will live on.

The lines “As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty — remember me.  As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity — remember me” particularly tie into the garden theme of A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak.

Remember Me

By Margaret Mead

Remember Me:
To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated.
But to the happy, I am at peace.
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea — remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty — remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity — remember me.
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts,
your memories of the times we loved,
the times we cried, the times we fought,
the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.

~

This final memorial service reading by Edna St. Vincent Mallay reminds us that no matter how much we might contest it, we all must eventually die.  When we do, we will all turn back into dust and, eventually, into beautiful flowers.

Although Mallay states that we will all be destined to become a part of nature and the beauty of the Earth, she acknowledges that this knowledge still doesn’t make losing someone any easier.  She writes: “More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.”

Dirge Without Music

By Edna St. Vincent Mallay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.
Crowned with lilies and with laurel they go but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
a formula, a phrase remains, but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love, they are gone.
They are gone to feed the roses.
Elegant and curled is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

~

Memorial Service Poems

When choosing memorial service poems, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you want the poems that you select for the memorial service to accurately reflect the person you are remembering.  Think carefully about your loved one’s life and about what made him or her so special.  Then try to select poems that reflect your heartfelt sentiments.

Second, when selecting memorial service poems, make sure you consider how guests will be feeling during the service.  Poetry can evoke strong emotion, so decide how you want guests to feel when they hear the poem you have selected.

Do you want guests to reflect on their feelings of grief and loss?  Do you want them to feel comforted?  Do you want them focus on remembering good times or your loved one’s legacy?

Your answer to these questions may depend on how long after your loved one’s passing the memorial service is taking place.

If the memorial service is taking place a week or two after your loved one’s passing, the loss is still feel very fresh.  Many people may not be in the right frame of mind to be able to focus on celebrating your loved one’s life when they are still deeply grieving his or her passing.

However, if the memorial service is taking place months after your loved one’s passing, people will have had a bit more time to process their grief.  At this juncture, they may be in a better position to focus on celebrating the beautiful life and legacy your loved one.

In the next two sections, you’ll find memorial service poems that fit with the garden theme of A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak.

Memorial Service Poems for Children

This memorial service poem is very popular, even though it is simple, because it perfectly captures the love we have for our loved one, even after his or her passing.  It evokes beautiful imagery of picking roses for your loved one in heaven and would be an appropriate poem to read at a memorial service for an avid gardener or nature lover.

This poem can be modified from “Mother” to reflect whatever relationship the child reading the poem has to the deceased (e.g. Nana; Aunty).  Alternatively, the reader can also simply replace the word “Mother” with the name of the deceased.

If Roses Grow In Heaven

Author Unknown

If roses grow in heaven,
Lord please pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my Mother’s arms
and tell her they’re from me.

Tell her I love her and miss her,
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for awhile.

Because remembering her is easy,
I do it every day,
but there’s an ache within my heart
that will never go away.

~

This is another beautiful memorial service poem that can be modified by replacing the word “Mother” with another noun.

My Mother Kept a Garden

Author Unknown

My Mother kept a garden.
A garden of the heart;
She planted all the good things,
That gave my life its start.

She turned me to the sunshine,
And encouraged me to dream:
Fostering and nurturing
The seeds of self-esteem.

And when the winds and rains came,
She protected me enough;
But not too much, she knew I’d need
To stand up strong and tough.

Her constant good example,
Always taught me right from wrong;
Markers for my pathway
To last my whole life long.

I am my Mother’s garden,
I am her legacy.
And I hope today she feels the love,
Reflected back from me.

~

This short memorial service poem by Robert Frost is simple enough for a child to recite from memory.  It uses imagery of nature and the Garden of Eden to express the sentiment that nothing good or precious can last forever.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

By Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

~

This next touching memorial service poem was written in the voice of the deceased person, sending a message to the people they left behind about how he or she wants to be remembered.

After Glow

Author Unknown

I’d like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an after glow
of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the sun
of happy memories
that I leave when life is done

~

Memorial Service Poems for Adults

The following memorial service poems would make appropriate selections for an adult who wishes to contribute to A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak.

This first beautiful poem inspires people to look for their loved one in the beauty of the world. In this particular poem, the narrator is reminded of a lost loved one while gazing at a gorgeous garden.

Finding You in Beauty

By Walter Rindor

The rays of light filtered through
The sentinels of trees this morning.
I sat in the garden and contemplated.
The serenity and beauty
Of my feelings and surroundings
Completely captivated me.
I thought of you.
I discovered you tucked away
In the shadows of the trees.
Then, rediscovered you
In the smiles of the flowers
As the sun penetrated their petals
In the rhythm of the leaves
Falling in the garden
In the freedom of the birds
As they fly searching as you do.
I’m very happy to have found you,
Now you will never leave me
For I will always find you in the beauty of life.

~

This next gorgeous memorial service poem speaks about keeping your loved one’s memory alive by tending to a garden of your own.  (Please note that this poem can be modified to reflect your relationship to the deceased, as well as for gender.)

Memorial

By Albert H. Pedrick

I’ve had the garden tidied up,
As she would have me do.
This little pal who couldn’t stay
To see the season through.
The flowers were her dearest friends,
The garden was her own,
I’ve watched her work, but never knew
The things that she had grown.
Her, catalogues keep coming, and
Her garden magazine;
I run across the queerest names,
And study what they mean,
I read them all, from end to end,
And when the spring is here,
I’ll have a garden just like hers,
As though my wife were near.

~

The theme of this next sweet memorial service poem is that even though the person we love is gone, the memories and love that we have for that person keeps them alive until we meet them again one day in Heaven.

Should You Go First

By A.A. Rowswell

Should you go first and I remain
to walk the road alone
I’ll live in memory’s garden, dear
with happy days we’ve known
in Spring I’ll wait for roses red,
when fades the lilacs blue,
in early fall, when brown leaves call
I’ll catch a glimpse of you

Should you go first, and I remain
for battles to be fought,
each thing you’ve touched along the way
will be a hallowed spot
I’ll hear your voice;
I’ll see your smile,
though blindly I may grope
the memory of your helping hand
will buoy me on with hope

Should you go first and I remain
to finish with the scroll,
no length’ning shadows ahall creep in
to make this life seem droll
We’ve known so much of happiness
we’ve had our cup of joy,
and memory is one gift of God
that death cannot destroy

Should you go first and I remain,
one thing I’d have you do;
walk slowly down that long, lone path,
for soon I’ll follow you
I’ll want to know each step you take
that I may walk the same,
for some day down that lonely road
you’ll hear me call your name

~

This memorial service poem speaks of the intimate relationship between a gardener and the garden that he or she tends to.  (This poem can be modified to suit the gender of the deceased.)

Garden Magic

By Marie Nettleton Carroll

This is the garden’s magic,
That through the sunny hours
The gardener who tends it,
Himself outgrows his flowers.

He grows by gift of patience,
Since he who sows must know
That only in the Lord’s good time
Does any seedling grow.

He learns from buds unfolding,
From each tight leaf unfurled,
That his own heart, expanding,
Is one with all the world.

He bares his head to sunshine,
His bending back a sign
Of grace, and ev’ry shower becomes
His sacramental wine.

And when at last his labors
Bring forth the very stuff
And substance of all beauty
This is reward enough.

~

This next memorial service poem by Siegfried Sassoon was inspired by his service during the first world war and speaks of looking for the little joys in the world.

Idyll

By Siegfried Sassoon

In the grey summer garden I shall find you
With day-break and the morning hills behind you.
There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;
And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.
Not from the past you’ll come, but from that deep
Where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep:
And I shall know the sense of life re-born
From dreams into the mystery of morn
Where gloom and brightness meet. And standing there
Till that calm song is done, at last we’ll share
The league-spread, quiring symphonies that are
Joy in the world, and peace, and dawn’s one star.

~

This memorial service poem is a reminder that even when days seem dark and cruel, life is a beautiful gift and each day is a blessing.

Prayer in a Garden

By Eva Sparks Taylor

Today the world seemed cruel, but evening hours
Were filled with perfume from forgotten flowers.
I saw again familiar filigree
Of moonlight through my lacy Lilac tree;
I heard the robins stirring in their nest;
And saw the path that fairy feet had pressed;
Reflected stars were in my garden pool;
On my warm face the breeze was kind and cool.
The silence seemed to speak, my head was bowed,
Then ramblers that had grown into a cloud
Lifted my eyes that, tear-washed, now could see
The beauty that today was lost to me.
Dear god, who is so near to flowers, and birds,
Be nearer still, as I shall search for words
To thank Thee for the blessings night revealed,
Which through the day discouragement concealed.

~

This memorial service poem, which is perfect for a garden themed memorial service, is written in the voice of the deceased as the narrator.  It uses powerful imagery to remind friends and family not to mourn, but to remember the happy times shared.

I’ll Be There

Author Unknown

There was no time to say goodbye
Remember me as you think best
The happy time – forget the rest.

Look for me and I’ll be there
And you will find me everywhere
In the gentle touch of breeze
That cools the skin or swirls the leaves.

In the scent and colour of flowers
That gave to me such happy hours
On sunny days under sunny skies of blue
Just think of me, I’ll be with you.

In winter when there’s cloud or mist
The rain will give to you my kiss
As wood smoke lingers in the air
Look for me and I’ll be there.

Where seagulls cry above the sea
And surf rolls in so endlessly
Among towering trees that soar above
In all these things that i once loved
Look for me and I’ll be there
You’ll feel my presence everywhere.

~

This memorial service poem compares the complex emotions of grief to the four seasons.  The line: “Shall Spring’s cheerful flowers bring life anew; and allow me to forget the agony of missing you” is particularly fitting for a garden theme memorial service.

Seasons of Grief

By Belinda Stotler

Shall I wither and fall like an autumn leaf,
From this deep sorrow — from this painful grief?
How can I go on or find a way to be strong?
Will I ever again enjoy life’s sweet song?

Sometimes a warm memory sheds light in the dark
And eases the pain like the song of a Meadow Lark.
Then it flits away on silent wings and I’m alone;
Hungering for more of the light it had shone.

Shall grief’s bitter cold sadness consume me,
Like a winter storm on the vast angry sea?
How can I fill the void and deep desperate need
To replant my heart with hope’s lovely seed?

Then I look at a photo of your playful smiling face
And for a moment I escape to a serene happy place;
Remembering the laughter and all you would do,
Cherishing the honest, caring, loving spirit of you.

Shall spring’s cheerful flowers bring life anew
And allow me to forget the agony of missing you?
Will spring’s burst of new life bring fresh hope
And teach my grieving soul how to cope?

Sometimes I’ll read a treasured card you had given me
And each word’s special meaning makes me see,
The precious gift of love I was fortunate to receive,
And I realize you’d never want to see me grieve.

Shall summer’s warm brilliant sun bring new light,
And free my anguished mind of its terrible plight?
Will its gentle breezes chase grief’s dark clouds away,
And show me a clear path towards a better day?

When I visit the grave where you lie in eternal peace,
I know that death and heaven brought you release;
I try to envision your joy on that shore across the sea,
And, until I join you, that’ll have to be enough for me.

For all the remaining seasons of my life on earth,
There’ll be days I’ll miss your merriment and mirth,
And sometimes I’ll sadly long for all the yesterdays;
Missing our chats and your gentle understanding ways.

Yet, the lessons of kindness and love you taught me,
And the good things in life you’ve helped me to see;
Linger as lasting gifts that comfort and will sustain,
Until I journey to that peaceful shore and see you again.

~

This memorial service poem uses the metaphor of God having a beautiful garden where people we love who have passed away are planted.  This poem would make a fitting tribute for a loved one’s garden themed memorial service.

God’s Garden

By Melissa Shreve

God looked around his garden and found an empty place
He then looked down upon the Earth and saw your tired face
He put his arms around you and lifted you to rest
With the help of his angels they flew you to your heavenly place

Gods garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best
He knew you were suffering, he knew you were in pain
He knew that you would never get well on Earth again

He saw the road was getting rough and the hills too hard to climb
He closed your weary eyelids and whispered “Peace be Thine”
It broke our hearts to lose you but you didn’t go alone
For part of us went with you the day God called you home.

~

Finally, this last memorial service poem reference scenes from nature and the strength they give us when facing heartbreak.

Foundation for the Law of Time

Author Unknown

I take my strength from the mist in the hills
I take my strength from the standing trees
I take my strength from the running stream
I take my strength from the whispering breeze
My heart breaks again, no need to know why
We’re here but for a moment and then we must die.

~

If none of these memorial service poems express the sentiment you were hoping for, browse the extensive poetry library on Love Lives On:

Memorial Service Decorations

With a garden theme, the decor of the memorial service can be really beautiful!

There are lots of tasteful and unique decor ideas that use flowers, vegetables, gardening tools and greenery to create stunning decorations for A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak.

Here are some of our favourite ideas:

Memorial Service Decorations

This DIY Mason Jar Garden Pallet Planter (see image on the left-hand side above) is the perfect way to bring a little piece of the garden into an indoor memorial service. Hang it on a wall or lean it up against a wall on a memorial table.

You can also create some chalkboard signs (centre image) displaying a variety of different quotes related to life and gardening to display around the memorial service venue or on a memorial service memory table.

Here are a few examples of quote ideas to use on a chalkboard sign:

  • “Just living is not enough … one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” ~ By Hans Christian Andersen
  • “Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.” ~ By Claire Annesbury
  • “When you increase the number of gardens, you increase the number of heavens too!” ~ By Mehmet Murat Ildan
  • “There’s something satisfying about getting your hands in the soil.” ~ By E.A. Bucchianiri
  • “Try to pause each day and take a walk to view nature.” ~ By Lailah Gifty Akita
  • [He/She] loved the earth and the things that grew in it.” ~ By Sandra Dallas
  • “Everything is mended by the soil.” ~ By Andrew Crofts

Another simple, yet gorgeous, decoration idea for your garden themed memorial service utilizes clear glass Christmas ornaments (see image on the right-hand side above).  The ornaments can be filled with a variety of different greenery and small flowers from your loved one’s favourite trees, plants, and flowers.

The ornaments can be hung all around the memorial service venue with invisible fishing line.  They would look best hung in clusters, with fishing wire cut to different lengths (see centre image below to see how pretty it is to hang decorations at different heights).

Here are some more memorial service decoration ideas that we love that incorporate candles and flowers or plants:

Memorial Service Decorations

Candles and flowers go together beautifully to create an elegant and peaceful atmosphere for any event.  We absolutely love these candle decoration ideas that would add some intimate lighting to a memorial service.

The first example uses a variety of different flowers and candles floating in a bowl of water (see image above on the left-hand side).

You can easily create this simple and stunning memorial service decoration by trimming the stems of some flowers so they will float on top of the water.  In between the flowers, add in floating votive candles.  The type of container you use is totally up to you, but a container or bowl with a wide brim is best.

To bring an even more personal touch to this memorial service decoration, use your loved one’s favourite flowers.  Typically flowers with a flat base such as peonies, daisies, carnations and chrysanthemums, work best.

The next memorial service decoration idea is a hanging light display (see image above, centre position).  This is a stunning decoration idea to add light to an outdoor memorial event, like in a garden or park.

Simply tie the string around the top of mason jars or small containers with a lip and fill each with cordless twinkle lights and flowers.  Hang each container from a tree at different heights to create a magical scene.

Another memorial service decoration idea is to create a planter filled with a pillar candle and succulents (see image above on the right-hand side).

This DIY flower pot candle decoration is the perfect decor for a memorial service with a garden theme.

Here are three final ideas for memorial service decoration ideas for A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak.

Memorial Service Decorations

Hang bundles of herbs, (like thyme), from a string to create a garland to hang somewhere at your memorial service event (see image above on the left-hand side).  For example, you can drape the garland across the front of the memory table, or, if you are having a buffet meal, along the front of the buffet tables.

Our next idea is similar to the garland idea.  Simply hang tiny sprigs from a variety of plants and flowers on vertical pieces of string with mini clothespins (see image above, centre position).

The strings are then hung somewhere in the memorial service venue.  For example, you can attach these pieces of string to a door frame at the entrance to the venue and part the strand in the middle, tying each to either side of the door frame to create a draped effect (like a curtain).

Our final memorial service decoration idea for a garden theme event involves hanging geometric shapes filled with flowers, greenery and twinkle lights (see image above, right-hand side).  You can purchase either a hollow geometric air plant holders or ones with glass panes to hold your arrangement in place.

Memorial Service Guest Book

Most memorial services tend to include a memorial service guest book so that the family of the deceased can read each person’s entry and see just how many people’s lives their loved one touched.

A memorial service guest book makes a beautiful keepsake to enjoy for years to come.

You can choose to opt for a more traditional memorial service guest book.  There are many different styles available for purchase online that tie beautifully into the garden theme.

There are also lots of options for purchase online that allow you to personalize the cover of the memorial service guest book by adding your loved one’s photo and name.

You can find the memorial service guest books featured in the image below (from top left to bottom right) at Zazzle, Purple Trail, Zazzle, HallmarkZazzle, and Amazon.

Memorial Service Guest Book

On the other hand, you can always choose to get a little more creative by using other items, besides a traditional, physical book, as the memorial service guest book.

For example, you could purchase a wooden garden bench or a large garden stone for guests to sign (see image below, far left-hand side).

After the memorial service, the bench or garden stone can be displayed in your garden as a permanent memorial for your loved one.  If you choose to go this route, you’ll want to purchase a top coat of resin or varnish to protect the messages from the weather before you place the bench or garden stone outside.

As another example of an “alternative” memorial service guest book, you could plant a memorial tree in your loved one’s honour at the memorial service.  After the tree is planted, guests would write special messages on leaf-shaped card-stock and then hang them on the memorial tree.

If you decide to go this route, include a sign that says “Please leaf a memory about [Deceased’s Name]” or whatever message you wish to include (see image below, centre-left side).

You can also consider using everyday gardening items that belonged to your loved one, like his or her gloves, shovel, or watering can as a memorial service guest book.  Have guests sign their names and messages in sharpie marker on these personal pieces (see image below, centre-right side).

If you like the idea of a memorial tree, but it is not feasible for you to plant a real tree (for example, due to the time of year or city bylaws), you can have guests sign a remembrance tree on paper that can then be framed.

This remembrance tree is available to personalize and order and has guests sign the tree with their fingerprints (see image below, far right side).

Memorial Service Guest Book

With a little imagination, the options are limitless when it comes to memorial service guest books that add a personal and sentimental touch to the service.  It is also sure to become a lasting keepsake.

Legacy Online Memorials

Legacy online memorials are a rising trend and there are several websites online that can help you memorialize your loved one in the virtual space.

The Butterfly Memorial Garden is a stunning and innovative legacy online memorial that allows you to create a lasting tribute for your loved one. This virtual, private garden lets you invite guests to contribute by sharing memories and designing their own customized, hand-crafted butterfly to live in the garden. Enjoy watching them fly around the garden amongst gorgeous landscapes that change with the seasons a truly unique memorial experience.

Visit this virtual garden whenever you’re missing your loved one. On birthdays, anniversaries and special holidays, it can be a place of healing that you’ll want to return to, again and again.

eep your garden alive for as long as you want to by renewing your subscription plan.

Easily sign up through the secure payment portal and in just a few simple steps, you’ll have a gorgeous private garden to commemorate the life and legacy of your loved one.

Legacy Online Memorials

Memorial Service Boards

The increasing presence of memory boards at memorial services has mirrored the rising interest in personalizing end-of-life services — which is why you’re here!

Personalized memorial service boards both honour your loved one’s life and provides guests with more insight into your loved one’s unique and eventful life.  They serve as reminders of many precious memories.

When it comes to creating a memorial service board, you can stick to the traditional poster board memory board (like in the image below, bottom right).

Alternatively, you can put a unique spin on it by creating a photo clothesline frame (see top left and right), or hanging a photo display in an antique frame (see bottom left), or decorating a miniature tree or plant with photos to create a memory photo tree (see bottom, centre).

Memorial Service Boards

Regardless of the style, you decide to follow when creating the memorial service board, the first thing you need to do is decide on what photos you want to use.

Since the idea is to share his or her life’s journey, try and include photos of your loved one at different ages, starting with his or her childhood.  Also include photos that highlight special relationships he or she had, any passions or hobbies, and any special milestones and accomplishments.

You don’t need to handle this project alone!  You’ll probably discover that family members and friends are eager to assist you and provide you with photos of your loved one that you may have never even seen before.  Asking for help will not only make this project easier, but you’ll also be able to present a more complete representation of your loved one’s life in the memorial service board.

Consider making an event of creating the memorial service board by inviting friends and family over to help you with this project.

Ask them to locate possible photographs beforehand, and plan an evening where you go through them together and pick your favourites for the board.  (This can serve as a cathartic exercise and bring people who are grieving together.)

Let them know before the get-together that you are planning A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak for the memorial service, so ask them to be on the lookout for any photos they have of your loved one that ties into the garden theme.

You’ll also need a few craft supplies to bring your memorial service board to life.

Ideally, to help create a meaningful memorial service memory board, you should make sure to label each photograph with the date or year in which it was taken.  If you don’t remember the exact date, a rough guess that says something like “circa 1975” or the approximate age of your loved one provides your guests with some context.

You can look for decorative labels for your photographs that tie into the garden theme at your local craft store or use blank adhesive labels.

In addition to photographs, you can include meaningful personal mementos such as medals, ticket stubs or certificates that your loved one collected in the memorial service board.

You can also add other decorative elements, like dried or silk flowers, glitter, or coloured paper.

If you’re planning on creating a traditional memorial service board, you’ll also need to purchase a poster display board.  We recommend using the largest board possible.  You don’t want to buy a poster display board that’s smaller than 48-by-36-inches, otherwise, you won’t have enough room for all of the photos and mementos that you want to include.

You can purchase a 48-by-36-inch paper poster board from a local office-supply store or art store, or order it online from Amazon.

You can use other types of boards as the base of your traditional memorial service board, including foam display boards; easel-pad sheets; cork boards; dry-erase boards; magnetic boards; or even a piece of plywood cut to size.

If you want to create a framed clothesline board, you’ll need a decorative photo frame(s), hemp string, small clothespins (you can purchase these at Amazon or a local craft store), glue and scissors.

If it’s difficult to find one photo frame large enough to display all the photos you want to, create a display using multiple frames. (Learn how to make your own DIY clothesline photo frame here.)

Typically, the memorial service board would sit on a table alongside other items that were significant to your loved one (or on an easel next to the table).  On the memorial service table, you might include decorations like gardening tools and gloves, or pots of your loved ones’ favourite plants.  (More on memorial service table decorations further on.)

Memorial Service Posters

You can also choose to include a memorial service poster to display a large photo of your loved one.  Many event venues or funeral homes have easels to lend you for the memorial service, or you can purchase one on Amazon.

Here are a few free stock photos that would be appropriate backgrounds for memorial service posters when designing with a garden-theme in mind.  From left to right: Nature Garden Plant Background, Blossom Blur Background and Garden Trowel Background.

Memorial Service Posters

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Memorial Service Table Decorations

You really don’t need to venture any further than the garden for inspiration for your garden themed memorial service table decorations.  Gardens not only look beautiful, but their bounty can make truly stunning table decor when you get a little creative!

Are you planning a sit-down meal for your guests?  If so, there will likely be one large table or several smaller tables that could use some centrepieces to bring your memorial service garden theme to life.

Flowers are the obvious option to decorate a memorial service table.  To bring a more personalized touch, why not use your loved one’s favourite types of flowers to create this DIY garland centrepiece for the table?  This tutorial explains how to make a garland centrepiece using certain types of fruits and flowers, (but feel free to use whatever fruit, flower, plant and vegetable combination that you prefer).

Was your loved one more of a vegetable gardener than a flower gardener?  Create your centrepiece out of fresh vegetables and herbs.  You can display them in one long crate or box on the table, or create several smaller bundles to spread out along the table.  (See images below.)

You can also use plant elements in your table settings as well.  For example, use pieces of greenery to add a garden vibe to your table setting by using them as “napkin rings.”  It’s a subtle, but beautiful, way to bring the garden theme to your memorial service table decorations.  (See image below, bottom-right.)

Another beautiful idea is to make place cards for your table setting by writing your guests names in gold or white multi-surface markers on large, faux leaves, (such as magnolia leaves) and lay them on each guests’ plate.  If you don’t want to do pre-assigned seating, you could adorn each person’s plate with a sprig of your loved one’s favourite plant, like a fern, instead.

Memorial Service Table Decorations

You may also wish to have a memorial service table where guests will sign a guest book.  You can decorate this table to be an ode to your loved one’s passion for gardens and plants.  Display a variety of his or her gardening tools, gardening gloves, seed packets and seedlings, watering cans, and gardening boots. And of course, include a beautiful arrangement of his or her favourite flowers.

In the image below are a few additional ideas for elements to include in the memorial service table decorations:  flower arrangement in a decorative watering can (left-hand side); terracotta pots to hold silverware, perfect for a buffet meal (top-centre); plants in some type of glass container (bottom-centre); and gardening tool displays (top-right, top-bottom and bottom-centre).

Memorial Service Table Decorations

Memorial Service Food

When considering what type of memorial service food to serve at the reception, there are a couple of things to consider.

For starters, you want to consider whether you are hosting a large number of people or a more intimate gathering.  If you are hosting a large reception, you might want to opt for a buffet-style meal, rather than finger foods, as this tends to be less expensive and easier to prepare.

You could also consider hiring a caterer for a larger memorial service event. Using a caterer to provide the food for a memorial service reception meal is becoming increasingly more popular.  Not only will they take care of all your food needs but they can also offer you some insight into what dishes might be appropriate for your event and how much you should buy.

If you’re having a more intimate event, it might make more sense to take care of the food yourself.  The food options for a garden themed memorial service are limitless!  Obviously, you might want to feature fresh garden vegetables in your memorial service menu.

We’ve separated this section out by different types of food options from one-bite canapés to sit-down, family-style meals that you might wish to whip up for your garden themed memorial service.

They may look intimidating, but these recipes are all super-easy so that even if you’re not the most confident cook in the world, you’ll have no problem putting together these simple, yet delicious, dishes.

Canapés for the Memorial Service Reception

If you’re having a memorial service reception that serves light refreshments only or you wish to have some appetizers available before your sit-down dinner, these stylish and delicious one-bite canapés are the perfect addition to your memorial service food menu.

A canapé is a fancy way of saying a type of hors d’œuvre made from decorative food that often consists of a base (usually a small piece of bread, puff pastry, or a cracker) topped with some savoury food, and often eaten in one bite.

This Cucumber & Smoked Salmon Canapé recipe is super simple, yet ridiculously delicious (see image below, top row-left).  Nothing screams “Garden!” like a crisp, fresh cucumber topped with velvety cream cheese and smoked salmon, and garnished with fresh dill.  With only four ingredients, this fresh and light canapé takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

These Pizza Roses also use just four simple ingredients and can be prepped ahead of time (see image below, top row-centre).  Pop them in the oven in a muffin tin for 20 minutes and they’re ready!

These simple and adorable flower pot hummus cups are made using Flower Pot Muffin Cases filled with hummus and topped with various bite-sized vegetables, like baby carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower (see image below, top row-right).  You can purchase hummus at the grocery store or make your own hummus with one of these 11 Unique Hummus Recipes.

These gorgeous Edible Flower & Garden Herb Crostinis truly put the garden on a plate (see image below, bottom-right). Fresh baguette slices are brushed with olive oil, grilled, and then topped with fresh cream cheese and herbs.

Mini-sandwiches are a popular appetizer at memorial service receptions for a reason.  They are easy to make in large batches and are always a hit with guests.  

These Herbed Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches combine several fresh ingredients to create a mix of crunchy and creamy textured sandwiches (see image below, centre row-left).  You can use a garden themed cookie cutters in the shape of a leaf, watering can, flower or butterfly to create sandwiches in the shape of garden inspired items.

This Magic Mushroom Caprese Salad is a whimsical, garden-inspired take on the classic Caprese salad (see image below, centre).  This recipe is a simple, yet delicious, a combination of fresh mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes.  It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser because it’s both good to look at and good to eat!

Next up is yet another super-simple, yet impressively-tasting Grilled Watermelon-Feta Skewer (see image below, bottom row-left).  The salty-sweet contrast between the tangy feta and sweet watermelon is the perfect combination of ingredients.  Lightly-grilled and topped with fresh mint or basil, this recipe is perfection!

Memorial Service Food: Canapes

Dessert Canapéfor the Memorial Service Reception

You might wish to also include a selection of sweet canapés for dessert for your guests.  (When is dessert not a good idea?)

These Mini Berry Cheesecake Bites is the perfect, make-ahead-of-time dessert (see image below, top row-left).  They are ready to eat with just 35-minutes of prep time, (plus at least one-hour chilling time).  Top each cheesecake with a different garden fruit, like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries, etc.

You can never go wrong with brownies!  These super simple Rose Garden Brownies are the perfect garden inspired bite-sized brownie for a memorial service reception (see image below, top row-centre).  Simply make your basic brownie batter and pour the batter into muffin tins.  Bake and ice with basic chocolate icing and top with a rose-shaped candy or icing.

We love succulents, and if your loved one did too, follow this Succulent Cupcake tutorial to create these gorgeous succulent cupcakes for your loved one’s garden themed memorial service (see image below, right).  Absolutely stunning!

Nothing references garden freshness like Lemon Bars (see image below, bottom-row, left).  We don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with this classic mini-desert.  It’s the perfect combination of flavours and textures, starting with the creamy and tart custard filling that screams “Summer Garden,” to the sweet, buttery and flaky crust.  This guaranteed crowd-pleaser is easy to bake for larger memorial service receptions.

Follow this Garden Cake Bites Tutorial to create these gorgeous tiny cake bites decorated with delicate gum paste flowers (see image below, bottom-row, second-from-left).  It’s a perfect dessert canapé to serve at your loved one’s garden themed memorial service.  (Feel free to decorate them using any colours and designs that you wish.)

Finally, this sugar cookie idea is for all those bakers out there who love to make beautiful dessert art.  Make these adorable Potted Violet Sugar Cookies that beautifully reflect the garden theme (see image below, bottom-row, centre).

Are you an inexperienced cookie decorator and looking for a decorated cookie recipe that’s simpler than the Potted Violet Sugar Recipe shown above?  If you are, check out this super simple flower cookie recipe.

Since sugar cookies keep fresh for quite a while if stored properly, you can bake and decorate the cookies ahead of time.

Memorial Service Food: Dessert Canapes

Sit-Down Meal for the Memorial Service Reception

Depending on the number of guests that will be attending your loved one’s memorial service reception, there are a few meal styles that you can consider.

If you are hosting the memorial service reception at a restaurant that is providing the food for your sit-down meal or buffet or hiring a catering company, then all the heavy lifting is taken care of for you.  Just make sure that you call the restaurant or caterers in advance of the memorial service date to confirm the number of guests who will be attending your memorial service reception dinner so they can adequately prepare.

It might also be a good idea to include a note on your memorial service invitation to advise guests with any food allergies or dietary restrictions to let you know when they RSVP.  This way you can let the restaurant or caterers know in advance about any special meals that are needed.

If you’re serving a more intimate group (i.e. less than 20 people) and are comfortable in the kitchen, you may decide that you want to take care of preparing the food for the reception meal yourself.

If this is the case, we would suggest serving your memorial service reception meal “family style.”  Family style is simply creating large dishes where everyone takes their own portion from the main dish.  (This is similar to the self-serve nature of a buffet, but the spread is laid out at the table your guests are eating at.)

While you may be tempted to make complex dishes, keep in mind that this is a special event that you want to be able to be a part of.  We suggest making an assortment of dishes that are simple to prepare, involve little supervision if you have help, or that you can prepare ahead of time.

When it comes to the garden theme of A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak, try to select dishes that emphasize the natural bounty of the garden, like using lots of fresh vegetables.

Your sit-down meal for the memorial service reception should include a variety of dishes, including main dishes, side dishes and salads.

If you’re stumped for ideas, here are some family-style dishes that are easy to prepare can be prepped ahead of time, and are sure to please the palate.

(Be sure to adjust the quantities given in the recipes to accommodate the number of guests that you’re expecting at the memorial service reception that you’re hosting for your loved one.)

Main Dishes for the Sit-Down Meal

This Spiced Salmon recipe is ready to serve in just 20 minutes.  Simply mix all the garden-fresh ingredients together and brush over the salmon and bake for 10-15 minutes.  (See image below, left-side.)

Who doesn’t love pasta?  This meatless Italian Ravioli with Spinach, Artichokes, Capers and Sun-dried Tomatoes recipe is packed full of flavour and perfect for any vegetarian or vegan guests.  (See image below, centre.)

This delicious ravioli dish takes just 30 minutes to make from start to finish.  Chop your vegetables and grate your cheese the day before so all you have to do is cook the ravioli and mix all your ingredients together.  (If you have vegans attending the memorial service reception, simply omit the cheese or use vegan cheese.)

This Rosemary and Garlic Roast Beef recipe is super-easy to follow, quick to make, and requires minimal prep time. This roast dish is crusted with garlic and rosemary, roasted to perfection, and full of flavour.  It’s sure to satisfy your guests’ appetites. (See image below, right-side.)

Memorial Service Food: Main Dishes

Side Dishes for the Sit-Down Meal

These Maple Roasted Beets & Carrots take just 15-minutes to prep and 20-minutes to cook.  Prep ahead of time and simply stick them in the oven to roast for 20 minutes before the start of the meal.  (See image below, left-side.)

Let vegetables shine with this simple French dish of stewed summer vegetables called Ratatouille.  (See image below, centre.)  It takes 20-minutes to prep the veggies and 60-minutes to roast.  While this dish uses simple ingredients, it is really delicious and puts a garden’s bounty on centre stage.

If you don’t have 60-minutes to roast a Ratatouille, consider making an easier version of this dish with this Crock Pot Ratatouille recipe.

These Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes take just 10-minutes to prep and 60-minutes to cook.  (See image below, right-side.)

Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and bursting with flavours of fresh lemon and savoury rosemary, these potatoes are sure to leave your guests wanting a second helping!

Prep the potatoes ahead of time and assemble them in a baking dish so you simply need to pop them in the oven an hour before the sit-down meal.

Memorial Service Food: Side Dishes

Salads for the Sit-Down Meal

This Heirloom Tomato & Blue Cheese Salad is a super-simple, yet delicious salad, that’s ready to eat in just 10-minutes. In this fresh garden inspired dish, the blue cheese perfectly balances the acidity of the tomatoes.  (See image below, left-side.)

This fresh and healthy Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad takes just 30-minutes to prepare, and most of that is the cooking and cooling time for the quinoa, which requires little supervision. Served cold, you can prepare the dish ahead of time and let the vinaigrette marinate the tabbouleh.  (See image below, top-row, centre.)

This Sliced Tomato, Corn & Feta Salad is the perfect, make-ahead dish that showcases garden vegetables with fresh corn and tomatoes.  Ready to eat in 10-minutes, it’s quick and easy to prep ahead of time!  (See image below, top-row, right-side.)

This 10-minute Berry Orange Spinach Salad With Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette is another salad recipe that is super-easy to make!  Leafy spinach, juicy mandarin oranges, sweet and tart berries, creamy feta, and crunchy walnuts, are all tossed together with a simple 4-ingredient vinaigrette that’s sweet and tangy.  (See image below, bottom-row, right-side.)

Memorial Service Food: Salads

Memorial Service Gifts

It’s becoming more and more common to give memorial services gifts at a loved one’s service as a way of thanking people for their care and concern and contributions to the service (e.g. food and flowers).  You may give a gift to a select few people, or to all the guests attending the memorial service.  (It’s totally up to you to decide what’s appropriate.)

There are lots of unique and meaningful memorial service gifts in keeping with the garden theme of A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak.

Our first idea is both inexpensive and easy to make.  Simply fill a miniature plant pot with a pair of scissors, a seed packet, and gardening gloves.  (See image below, left-side.)

The recipient of the memorial service gift will plant the seeds in the miniature plant pot at home.  When the seeds start growing, they will think of your loved one.

The items for this memorial service gift — pot, scissors, seed packet, gardening gloves — can be found at your local dollar store.  You can further customize this memorial service gift by either painting your loved one’s name on the side of the pot — this is easiest if the pot is terracotta — or on a DIY plant marker.

Our second idea for a memorial service gift is miniature pots of succulents or fresh herbs, with a customized label.  (See image below, right-side.)  You can purchase miniature potted plants from your local garden centre.  The labels can be printed out on your home printer.

Thirdly, you can purchase miniature roses or a miniature oak tree — perfect for A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak — and add a home-made plant marker with a quote about your loved one.  (See image below, bottom-row, centre.)

Our fourth idea is giving packets of Forget-Me-Not seeds.  This is an especially appropriate gift for a garden themed memorial service.  (See image below, bottom-row, left-side.)

You can present the seeds in a beautiful basket on the memorial service table so that all guests can take a packet upon leaving the service.  Alternatively, you could make a DIY bookmark and attach a seed packet to the back of the bookmark.  (The beauty of this idea is that you are giving guests two memorial service gifts bundled together.)

Our fifth idea is to create your own seed packets.  Create a packet by using paper or cardstock printed with words to your loved one’s favourite song or poem, then fill the packet with seeds of your loved one’s favourite plant, along with planting instructions.  (See image below, bottom-row, right-side.)

Memorial Service Gifts
Here are a few more ideas for beautiful memorial service gifts that tie into the garden theme.

Make beautiful geometric terrariums to give as a special gift to guests that they can display in their homes in memory of their loved one.

Memorial tree saplings are a great memorial service gift idea. Guests who receive this gift can have a private ceremony at home when planting the tree in memory of your loved one.

Custom commemorative bookmarks can make a beautiful and practical memorial service gift. You can pair them with a copy of your loved one’s favourite gardening book.

Lastly, these scented soy wax melts are scented with natural oils (of your choice) and beautifully infused with dried rose petals and will fill the room with aromas of the garden.

Memorial Service Gifts

Tribute Video

A memorial service is a great time to capture memories of your loved one on video since everybody is gathered in one location.

SpeechBooth is an innovated company that will ship a complete video recording kit to anywhere in the USA and Canada.  Simply order a kit online today, and you’ll have everything you need to capture anecdotes and heartfelt words about your loved one at the memorial service.

The video recording kit sets up in minutes.  After the memorial service, simply send SpeechBooth your video footage and they will edit it into a professional video for you and the other guests to enjoy and share for years to come.

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Tribute Video

More Memorial Service Ideas

Did you know that we have other themed memorial service ideas? Visit our library for “A Fitting Farewell™”.

We also have a comprehensive library of articles that will help you plan a memorable memorial service to celebrate the life of your loved one in unique ways?

Here are some other popular posts on our website to help you with the planning process:

Need help planning a beautiful memorial service?

Then search Love Lives On’s trusted Business Directory for the best professionals in your local area — including funeral directors, celebrants, florists, printers — to help you create a ceremony that truly captures the life, love and legacy of your loved one.

It Helps to Share…

If you’re planning a memorial service, please ask your funeral director if he or she is familiar with Love Lives On’s exclusiveA Fitting Farewell” series.

Let him or her know that you’d like to recreate our garden themed memorial service, aptly named: A Fitting Farewell for A Lovely Rose or Mighty Oak.

If you were inspired by our garden themed memorial service ideas, or have new ideas to add, please let us know in the comments box below!  We always love hearing from our readers.

Consider also following Love Lives On on Facebook or subscribe to our YouTube channel for more inspiring ideas to help you celebrate your loved one’s wonderful life and legacy.