Photo: Rainbow’s End Garden by 12 year old Alicia Kavanagh at Ireland’s Bloom Garden Festival, 2018

A Reflection of the Grief Process through the Eyes of a Child.

A Community Garden for Meath Springboard Family Support Services by 12 year old Alicia Kavanagh (Navan, County Meath). Alicia’s garden represents the grieving process for children participating in bereavement counselling. Alicia’s garden also highlights how children and adults grieve differently.


Alicia Kavanagh, Photo: Caroline Quinn for the Irish Independent

Garden Description by Alicia Kavanagh

“My hope for my garden is that its message will hep people. It’s about how children and grown ups see emotions differently. I’ve picked grief as a situation when people feel all sorts of emotions. I’ve used the planting in my garden to show you those emotions in colour, just life a rainbow”.

“My colour palette was chosen from the results of two surveys, one with adults, the other with children.  All were given the colours of the rainbow and the adults were given black, white and brown too. The results were very interesting and really showed that children and adults deal with emotions very differently. For instance, ‘shock’. For adults shock was white and for the kids it was pink and orange”.


Photo: Alicia Kavanagh, Rainbow’s End Facebook Page

“You will find the adult colours around the outer edge of the garden. The children are on the inside. The tall (adult) plants protect the smaller (children) ones. If the adult plants are not tended they will wilt and topple over on top of the small ones. Adults protect children, but the children still need to be able to feel freedom and to express themselves. Stand-by and provide support but you have to let the air in”.

“Plants chosen depended on the colour scheme of the stages of grief, with the red-hued bleeding heart plant representing grief, and herbs traditionally used as cures for anxiety disorders, being used to symbolise depression”. (Claire O’Mahony, Irish Independent,  May 27, 2018)