War Memorial Garden, Christ Church College, Oxford
War Memorial Garden, Christ Church College, Oxford

Memorials Gardens have a particular resonance for me. It was a Memorial Garden, the one pictured here, at Christ Church Oxford, that introduced me to garden history. I have always liked gardens and been aware of them. But until I walked across the War Memorial Garden at Christ Church for the first time I had never considered the story behind the creation of a garden. There is something evocative in the simplicity of the Christ Church War Memorial Garden. It caused me to stop and ask why?  Why was a garden built to commemorate a war? I have been asking this question ever since, and, hopefully, will explore it with you in the ‘pages’ of this blog.

In the meantime, it is Memorial Day in the USA, a whole day devoted to commemoration. I have never found this day, with its barbeques and beach trips and retail sales, to be conducive to the contemplation of commemoration. A whole day dedicated to memory cannot achieve the serenity of a few minutes spent in a well-intended memorial garden.

7 thoughts on “MEMORIAL GARDENS

  1. I think perhaps a garden can “commemorate” a war without being a celebration of war or more accurately perhaps of “victory” . Gardens are of course celebrations of life but also places of reflection & remembrance, contemplation & comprehension – or at least an attempt at understanding the nature of things as well as to reach for the peace that passeth understanding.


  2. To me, the whole idea of commemorating or memorializing someone or something is endlessly intriguing. I’ve erected memorials in my garden in Quebec to three individuals who were important in my life (my father, a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law) and hope soon to find the right way to remember my mother. I’ve also included objects and plants to recall various events in our lives, and in the lives of the people who lived at Glen Villa before we did. For me, making the link to the past explicit adds depth and meaning to the garden.


    1. Thanks Patterson for commenting and sharing your ideas of commemorations at Glen Villa. When my dog, Pixie, died I found a Japanese maple called ‘Pixie’. I planted her ashes under her tree. Hopefully, the ‘Pixie’ tree will live long and well.


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