A memorial tree is a popular way to commemorate a lost loved one, whether it stands alone or as part of a larger memorial garden. Not only does a tree continue to grow and flourish, keeping the departed person's memory green for generations, but it also benefits the Earth. Whether you plant a new tree or dedicate one that is already flourishing, place a marker that will memorialise your loved one for as long as the tree is standing.
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As the name suggests, stake markers are signs with attached legs that drive into the ground like stakes. Stake markers may be made of wood, metal, plastic, ceramic or glass. You may buy a ready-made marker featuring a verse or "In Loving Memory," or you may have one custom-made. Include your loved one's name, the dates of his birth and death, or his favourite quotation. You may even have a photograph printed directly onto the marker. There are also markers with no words at all; choose something that will remind you of your loved one, such as a metal cat or a glass butterfly on a springy stake. Whatever you select, place the marker securely at the base of the memorial tree.
A plaque is a marker that is attached directly to the tree itself. Plaques are usually made of metal or resin, though they can be made of wood or anything else weatherproof that is light enough to fasten to the tree. Have a jewellery store engrave your choice of phrase on a brass plaque and screw it directly to the tree's bark, or purchase a tree marker band that will hold the plaque securely to the trunk and expand as the tree grows. You can also make your own plaque by carving a wooden shingle or painting a ceramic tile and hanging it from a sturdy branch with a loop of chain.
Markers made of granite, marble or stone-composite resin make long-lasting memorial pieces. They can be embellished in the same ways that headstones are: with engraving, etching or the application of a photographic image to the stone. A stone marker placed on the ground near the tree makes a dignified marker. Alternatively, you may choose to epoxy an engraved plaque to a boulder that is already conveniently placed. Stepping stones are another way to mark a memorial tree -- you can purchase ready-made stones or make your own, perhaps including the handprints of children or grandchildren.
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