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Sylvia West Memorial Garden


Sylvia and I made the decision for cremation long ago, but neither of us made a decision about what to do with the ashes. Our daughter Suzanne suggested that we plant a memorial tree on our property and mix Sylvia's ashes with the soil around the tree. We decided to do that.

Suzanne's employer, Ramsey & Pratt, P.A., donated the tree.

Mary Rose, who also works for Ramsey & Pratt, selected the tree and her husband Don delivered it on April 18th. They got the planting process started, so that we could finish it during our ceremony.

Vickie West had a beautiful granite stone engraved, which she and David contributed to mark the memorial.

At some point I started thinking that Sylvia's tree should be in a garden, a garden which I would design after I had researched information on memorial gardens. Mary Rose said that she would be going to the Gardens and Grace Conference on Memorial Day and would bring back some information.

Gaylon and Mary Lou West have already purchased a garden bench to be used as a memorial to their sister Sylvia. So our memorial garden is underway.

The tree is a Forest Pansy Redbud.

Clusters of tiny, rose-purple, pea-like flowers bloom profusely on the branches and mature trunks for 2-3 weeks in early spring (March-April, around the anniversary of the Lord taking Sylvia Home) before the foliage emerges. Heart-shaped leaves open bright reddish-purple and gradually mature to a more muted purple and green. Seed pods resembling snow peas appear in late Spring after flowering. Fall color is variable, but often includes attractive shades of reddish-purple and orange as well as yellow-green. Redbuds are true harbingers of Spring. Mature height: 20 to 30 feet. Mature spread: 15 to 25 feet. Form: Irregular when young, forming a graceful, flat-topped or rounded crown as it matures. Below is an example of what a mature tree looks like.

Photo of mature Redbud tree

On April 20, 2007, after Sylvia's Memorial Service and lunch some of our family gathered at my home for the Memorial Tree ceremony. Those present were Sylvia's sister Madeline Nave, Mike and Eileen Nave, me (Bob West), Fred and Suzanne Gore, Larissa Gore, Fred and Kristie Gore, Josiah Gore, David and Vickie West, Jenny Aguilar, Jessica Johns, Matthew Johns, Jonathan West, and Samantha (Sam) Woodall.

Holding her mother's ashes and standing next to the young Forest Pansy Redbud, Suzanne told the group about the memorial tree and why it was chosen. Then Madeline, Suzanne, Vickie, Larissa, and I took turns pouring the ashes around the tree. Fred and Jonathan filled the trench with soil. Then David placed the granite marker by the tree and led the group in the singing of "Amazing Grace" and in prayer.

Below are some of the photos that were taken by Fred Gore and Eileen Nave.


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