Memories that will keep on blooming

Altona Palliative Care volunteers pose with a tree they planted at the Altona Memory Garden. LORI PENNER/Red River Valley Echo

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Nearly 200 people gathered on June 4 for the annual Altona Memory Garden planting ceremony.
This year, a total of 34 perennials, shrubs, and trees were planted by community members, in honour of loved ones they have lost.
The Memory Garden began in 2007 by the Altona in Bloom committee with a vision of a garden that would provide a peaceful, serene place where people could go to remember loved ones while being surrounded by the beauty of nature.
The land was donated by the Town of Altona. the committee hired a professional landscape artist who created the predetermined design.
The plan was to provide a garden that was low maintenance, but high in variety and beauty.
The first planting included four plants, but through the years, the garden has grown, and now includes several large plots, meandering paths, benches and monuments, all surrounded by trees, shrubs and flowers that burst into colour every spring.
A small latticed gazebo provides a place for people to browse through a book, listing the names of all the people who have plants growing there in their memory.
Altona and District Palliative Care volunteer coordinator Maria Nickel says each tree or shrub planted is a way to pay tribute and honour the memory of someone who is gone. “It’s a sweet reminder of how precious that person was, and how life, in all its painful beauty, goes on.”
Nickel read the names of the 23 individuals whose memory was being honoured this year.
“This ceremony is a special time to reflect and pray.”

The Altona Memory Garden is a place where residents can plant trees, shrubs and flowers in honour of those they have lost. LORI PENNER/Red River Valley Echo