August 23, 2023

Power of Nature - Sympathy Gifts for Gardeners

by Lanna Britt

In times of sorrow and loss, finding solace in the embrace of nature can be a truly transformative experience. The gentle rustle of leaves, the vibrant colors of blooming flowers, and the sense of renewal that accompanies each season can offer a healing balm for the weary soul. For those who have a deep connection with the earth and find solace in tending to their gardens, the power of nature becomes even more profound. 

In this blog, we will explore the concept of sympathy garden gifts for gardeners as a unique and thoughtful way to provide comfort and support during times of grief. Whether you are seeking a meaningful gesture to console a grieving friend or family member or searching for your own path to healing, join us as we delve into the remarkable connection between nature, gardening, and the human spirit. 

Discover how the power of nature can be harnessed through sympathy gifts tailored specifically for gardeners, and witness the incredible ability of plants and the act of gardening to bring solace, hope, and strength in the face of loss.

The Role of Gardening in Coping with Grief

The English poet laureate Alfred Austin once wrote, "The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." Austin was acknowledging that gardening can nourish us, not just physically with food but emotionally and spiritually through the act itself. The therapeutic benefits of gardening are many, especially for those individuals dealing with loss. In the days and months following the death of a loved one, getting outside and experiencing nature can be so important and restorative. There is something about dreaming of what a garden could be that inspires us to hope, even while navigating grief. Choosing plants and designing a layout is a great form of self-expression. Will you choose edible vegetables, a plethora of herbs, or a variety of wildflowers? You get to decide what will grow in your garden and that can be healing. There is so much about death that we can’t control so finding healthy ways to feel in control can bring a level of peace and comfort during an otherwise difficult time.

Sympathy Gift Ideas for Gardeners

There are a number of great sympathy gifts for gardeners that are both thoughtful and practical. Curated seed collections are a way to allow the recipient to experience the full life cycle of a plant. Remember those childhood experiments planting a seed in a cup and watching it grow? It was magical to anxiously await proof something was happening beneath the soil and then - pop - a green shoot would confirm life was occuring! The symbolism and hope of new life is sure to encourage your friend or loved one. No matter the personality type, climate zone or green space, there is a corresponding plant (or seed) that is the right fit. If you are an “old soul” and are interested in the meaning behind flowers, peruse the “Language of Flowers” to get some insight into how the Victorian era labeled flowers. Have a friend who is new to gardening and doesn’t have a yard? Consider a few herbs like mint, basil and lemon balm. You could even give a beautiful mug for future cups of lemon balm tea. 

Memorial plants and trees are a special way to honor a loved one who has passed. There is no right or wrong plant or tree but consider what the recipient would appreciate most. When we lost our second son Cooper at full term, my mom and sister gave us two weeping cherry trees in his honor. The name itself felt meaningful and we had spent almost a decade living in Washington DC, very close to the Cherry Blossoms along the Tidal Basin. The trees bloom in the spring, right around the date of Cooper’s heavenly birthday. Now seven years after they were planted, they provide a special reminder through each season of a life loved. 

Gardening tools and accessories are a great option when choosing a sympathy gift for gardeners. Consider creating a basket full of items a current or future gardener would love. From memorial keepsakes for the garden to beautiful work gloves, there are a variety of options. Laurelbox offers a plethora of garden themed gifts that will let the recipient know you were thinking of them during their grief. Stepping stones, memorial wind chimes, and custom garden stakes make thoughtful mementos that will be used and cherished.  

Whether your grieving friend is new to gardening or has been a Green Thumb for decades, gardening books and journals are a welcomed gift. Check out these lovely embroidered journals from Rifle Paper Co. Whether they are used for garden planning or heart healing, penning words to paper is an important part of any healing journey. Consider a sweet print of the famous Henri Matisse saying, “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” Books like The Gardeners’ World Almanac or Beginner Gardener Step by Step would be great resources, as well.

Creating a Sympathy Garden

Creating a sympathy garden, also called a memorial garden, is simply creating a green space with plants or flowers in honor of someone or something you want to remember. It can be as big or as small as you want it. If you recently lost your sister, you could take a corner of your backyard and plant all of her favorite flowers. Add a bench, statue, or memorial stone and each time you sit there, your memories together will wash over you. If you need some encouragement, read this story of how a daughter’s garden helps her feel more connected with her late mother. Another story shares how someone new to gardening used the process to navigate heartbreaking loss. However you choose to create a memorial garden, know it will become a special tribute to your loved one. 

Other Sympathy Gestures for Gardeners

There are also stories of how community gardens can lift up individuals as well as the neighborhood as a whole, in addition to the health benefits they bring. Grief can be an isolating journey so it’s important to maintain friendships and add new ones. I’ve heard it said the way to overcome a problem is to find something bigger than our problem. For many, that can be volunteering or living life with purpose. Consider volunteering at a local botanical garden or nursery to serve your community. Also remember that many of those establishments offer garden classes that could be enjoyable and make great gifts. If the person who passed away was the primary yard keeper, a thoughtful gesture could be a gardening or lawn care service


Whatever you do, make sure you get out in nature. Sunrise walks in your backyard, picking weeds after lunch, or evening watering can all create rhythms of rest that are so needed following a loss. Your thoughtful sympathy gifts for a gardener might be the push they need to resume a beloved activity that they laid down following the loss. Keepsake gifts for loss are so special and can have a transformative power over the recipient. Your memorial tree can become a continual source of comfort and leave a lasting legacy for this generation and beyond. 

Every spring our weeping cherry memorial trees are a burst of pinks and whites that remind us we’ll see our son Cooper again one day. Memorial plants and trees are gifts that keep on giving year after year! 


Lanna Britt was a national news producer in Washington DC for nearly a decade covering politics, breaking news and current events.  She now lives with her husband and three children in Richmond VA. She has two sweet babies she’ll meet again in heaven.

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