It was the ancient Greeks who first began placing flowers on the graves of warriors. They believed that these flowers would take root and bloom once the fallen soldier had found peace on the other side.
More than 2,000 years later, we continue to decorate the caskets, graves, and memorials of loved ones with flowers as a way of honoring their life and expressing our deepest sympathy. In fact, some of the most well-known men and women of our time have been gifted with entire gardens to uphold their memory. Just a few of these breathtaking memorials are:
Johnny Cash's Burial Site
Passing away just four months after his beloved wife June Carter, the pair can be found in a cemetery near Cash’s home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. In addition to their names, the couple's joint tombstone also reads "I Walk The Line" and "Wildwood Flowers," a nod to each of their most famous songs. Each year, thousands of people travel up the Tennessee hills in order to lay flowers at the gravesite and pay their respect.
National September 11 Memorial
Five years after the Twin Tower terror attack in 2001, construction began on the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. Today, the two pools that stand in the tower's footprints remember and honor the nearly 3,000 men and women who lost their lives on September 11, as well as the six people who perished in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Along the edge of the pools, which hold the largest manmade waterfalls in the world, sit the names of each person who lost their life.
The 9/11 Garden of Reflection
Deep within the farmland of Yardley, Pennsylvania sits another 9/11 memorial — the Garden of Reflection. This "Walking Memorial Journey" takes visitors throughout several acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and greenery.
Though it’s not technically a garden, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a time when roses and sunflowers aren’t covering the world famous "Imagine" tribute to famed Beatle, John Lennon. In March 1981, the City Council declared John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono's favorite spot in Central Park, Strawberry Fields (after the famous Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever). The iconic “Imagine” statue sits in the center of Strawberry Fields alongside a plaque of more than 120 countries that have donated money and flowers to the area.
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
After the Princess of Wales’ tragic death in 1997, work quickly began on a memorial honoring both her life and death in London, England. Designed by American landscape artist Kathryn Gustafson, the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain was designed to reflect the princess’ “inclusive” personality and, though once briefly fenced in, is now once again accessible to all. Today, visitors can pass over three bridges and walk right into the heart of the flowing fountain.
Elvis Presley Memorial Garden
Despite him never having visited the country itself, Parkville, Australia remains home to the largest Elvis Presley memorial in the world — a testament to how far his music traveled and how many people it affected. Often mistaken for a tombstone, the memorial is a three-foot tall, jagged rock that features dozens of large cracks. And in those cracks and crevices, fans have stuck succulents and ferns, which symbolize the nature of Presley's hometown of Memphis. Despite being surrounded by deceased Australian servicemen and officials, the Elvis Presley Memorial Garden remains one of the cemetery's largest memorials.
In honor of the 300th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, the former "Garden of the Heart" in Central Park was renamed the Shakespeare Garden in 1916. Like many other Shakespeare gardens across the country and Europe, this New York staple is filled with the many flowers that were mentioned in his famous works.
Located inside the Burggarten (the Imperial Palace Gardens) sits one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions — a roughly 30-foot tall statue of Mozart, one of the greatest composers to ever live. In addition to the many flowers and blossoming trees that surround this monument is a floral treble clef, beautifully laid directly in front of the monument.