Memorial Day Garden

When my father passed a few weeks ago, the fine folks at work gave me a sympathy card and a gift card to Milmont Greenhouses.  My boss had no idea that this is quite possibly my favorite place on Earth.  How fortuitous!

Keeping with the intent of the gift, I decided to build a memorial garden for Dad over the Memorial Day weekend.  It’s just an extension of my shade garden, but I kept him in mind when devising my plans and think of him every time I water the Pachysandra.  It is indeed a gift that will keep giving.

Shade3In order to extend the garden, I had to build a retaining wall at the low end.  And while the plants were a gift, the rest of the construction was on me so it had to be done on an extreme budget.  I played around with a few ideas and decided that the cheapest material to work with is landscape timber (under $2 per 8′ length).  I pounded a combination of 12″ rebar and landscape spikes into the ground and wove the timbers between the metal.  I didn’t design the wall to withhold a lot of stress, but it is remarkably strong. The design is a bit “loose” and timbers are disturbingly bright, but ivy will eventually cover and conceal the wall.  If not, I may stain the wood a dark brown – just to tone it down a bit. The plants are the same as in the rest of this garden: Pachysandra, false spirea, coral bells and fern (ostrich).

Steps1Once the retaining wall was complete, I decided to take the project just a bit further and added steps along the garden and down the steep and slippery slope.  Again, I used landscape timbers and landscape spikes. And bags and bags and bags of top soil!  I will top off with mulch at some point, but I exceeded my budget and my back capacity and called it quits for the day.

While I was in landscaping mode, I rebuilt the little patio I started about 5 years ago.  I don’t know what kind of surface I’m going to use (mulch, gravel, paving stones), but the structure is in place.  Now I just need to clean out the leaves and weeds from the rest of that section, rebuild the crawl space doors and paint, and 1/10th of my backyard will be done. Yay.


FYI:  Total cost of project so far – not including plants, Aleve and Bengay – was under $100. Not too shabby!

8 thoughts on “Memorial Day Garden

  1. Great project and tribute to your dad. I planted a blueberry bush in my dad’s honor in my garden when he passed five years ago, and it is so wonderful to see it growing every year!

    1. Thank you! I’m not the most sentimental person, so it’s somewhat out of character for me to do this. I’m so glad my office-mates gave me this gift. I never thought that having a place of remembrance would be as touching as it has been.

  2. Very nice. Never knew you had these talents. My brother built an incredible two level deck for his house. Wish I had the talents both of you have. I have trouble building a simple bookcase. Looking forward to final photos and invite to party to dedicate the back yard.

    1. Thank you, Jim. It will be a while before it’s all finished, but you are invited any time!

  3. The lighter wood is growing on me. And I know it will turn darker over time. So I think I’m with you…I will leave it be and accept what comes of it. Thanks!

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