In 2010 we designed, planted and dedicated a Memorial Garden. It is a beautifully landscaped private area behind our sanctuary. It is complete with an outdoor lectern, benches and room for remembrance plaques.

Our Memorial Garden allows the scattering of ashes of loved ones after their passing. They may be remembered with a small plaque inside the garden.

The garden also offers a place outdoors to visit and think about loved ones passed, friends in need, and problems in life. It is a place to feel closer to God. Our Memorial Garden makes our church and its grounds an even more beautiful place to worship.
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‘It’s more fun to garden with friends’

Published: September 16, 2012
Tampa Tribune

Landscaping committee: Ann Delach, Will Zeman, Kevin and Pam Oliva, Tom Feagin, Wayne Tolzman, Lewis Balsizer and Eleanor Dunn St. Paul Lutheran Church, TAMPA

Q: How long have you been gardening?

A: The church has been celebrating Earth Day, with a focus on gardening and landscaping, since 2003. In 2010, a generous offer was made to provide a large number of trees and shrubs at no cost. Of course, the only location for a new garden was exactly where the old unused shuffleboard courts were. So, away they went! No easy task, and thanks to a construction company with a backhoe.

A church member who works for Cornerstone Solutions Inc. helped create a garden complete with drip irrigation, lighting and a pathway through an arbor leading to a memorial stone. Our Memorial Garden includes benches, shade trees, blooming flowers and evergreens in a living wall behind a cross and stone lectern.

Church members replace seasonal flowers — especially on Earth Day. We’ve had to dig for the connections to the drip irrigation, add viburnum bushes to shield the air conditioning unit and take the irrigation system under the sidewalk. A large maple tree centers the garden. The garden’s symmetry includes red maples, Japanese blueberry trees, liriope, Indian hawthorn, Hawaiian ti plants and Washingtonian palms on each side. The arbor is centered between bougainvilleas, which overgrew and can be scratchy.

The church is now maintaining and improving the Memorial Garden, finding that it’s a perfect quiet place for meditation and remembering loved ones. And, we thank the shuffleboard courts for reserving that location!

Q: What or who have you learned the most from as a gardener?

A: We’ve learned that irrigation is extremely important.

Q: What are your go-to plants?

A: We’ve used plumbago successfully for color near the front of the church.

Q: What was your biggest gardening mistake?

A: To consider using a brick wall at the back of our garden instead of a wall of hedges.

Q: What are some challenges you face in your garden?

A: The constant maintenance, weeding and replacing plants is a challenge for our gardener volunteers.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for fellow gardeners?

A: Stick with it. Be willing to change plants when some don’t do well. And it’s more fun to garden with friends.