Legacy Garden Ideas: Tips On Creating Legacy Gardens

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

A legacy, according to Merriam-Webster, is something transmitted or received by an ancestor or predecessor, or from the past. How does that apply to the world of gardening? What are legacy garden plants? Read on to learn more about creating legacy gardens.

What is a Legacy Garden?

Here’s one useful way to look at creating legacy gardens: A legacy garden involves learning about the past, growing for the future, and living in the present time.

Legacy Garden Ideas

When it comes to legacy garden ideas, the possibilities are nearly endless, and nearly any type of plant can become a legacy garden plant. For example:

Legacy garden ideas for schools – Most American schools aren’t in session during the summer months, which makes gardening projects very challenging. Some schools have found a workaround by creating a legacy garden, in which schoolchildren plant crops in spring. The legacy garden is harvested by incoming classes in autumn, with families and volunteers tending the plants during the summer.

College legacy garden – A college legacy garden is similar to a garden for younger children, but is considerably more involved. Most legacy gardens created at colleges allow students to become directly involved with land use, soil and water conservation, crop rotation, integrated pest management, use of flowers for pollinators, fencing, irrigation, and sustainability. Legacy gardens are often funded by businesses and individuals in the surrounding community.

Community legacy gardens – Many corporations with an extra patch of land are putting that land to good use with a legacy garden that involves a partnership with employees and community members. Vegetables are shared among participating gardeners with excess donated to food banks and the homeless. Most corporate legacy gardens include an educational aspect with training sessions, workshops, seminars and cooking classes.

Legacy trees – A legacy tree in honor of a special person is one of the easiest ways of planting a legacy garden – and one of the most long-lasting. Legacy trees are often planted at schools, libraries, cemeteries, parks or churches. Legacy trees are typically selected for their beauty, such as hackberry, European beech, silver maple, flowering dogwood, birch or flowering crabapple.

Memorial legacy gardens – Memorial gardens are created to honor a person who has died. A memorial garden may involve tree, flowers, or other legacy garden plants, such as roses. If space allows, it may include walking paths, tables and benches for quiet contemplation or study. Some legacy gardens feature children’s gardens.

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