Tattoos, Gardens and Death

Some of the most popular tattoo designs are of flowers, trees, birds and butterflies. Yes, there is also your more typical skulls, death, horror and tribal type designs that a lot of people associate with tattoos. I myself, have a full sleeved design of a peacock along with a Japanese Maple tree, incorporated into the design. On the other arm I have a large Celtic cross that has a climbing rose encircling its way around it. Oh yes, I do also have that death skull tattoo as well.

The Celtic cross with the climbing rose I had done in memory of my Nan and Grandad. My Nan passed away in 2008 and my Grandad in 1991, the tattoo itself I had done in 2009. Both of my grandparents had played massive parts in my life, especially my Grandad who is the main reason why I fell in love with gardening. Losing my Nan hit me hard and even though it was 17 years after the death of my Grandad, this made me think about my Grandad even more and in some ways, I grieved for him a second time. My Nan’s death brought to an end a big chapter in my life and having this tattoo done helped me, they would have always been with me in my heart and mind, but this was something visual that I would carry with me for the rest of my life. I wear this one with a lot of pride.

Why did I have a full sleeve done, simply because I love the art of tattooing and not every tattoo has to have a meaning behind it. But it does have my children’s names in it in Japanese and I did have it done in my fortieth year, but that’s it.

You will find potential material for tattoos all over the garden Roses, Lilly’s, Peonies and of course… the wildlife. I had the pleasure of taking two very talented tattoo artists around the gardens last summer, one of them being the lady who done the marvellous job on my full sleeve. Listening to them talking about the colours along with shapes and textures that we have in the garden and then on how they could transform it into their art, was fascinating to say the least. Within the garden there is masses of colour, life and interest that always draws the artists into the garden with their paints, pens and pencils, the same could be said for Tattooist. Armed with their camera, they can take the pictures back to their studios to create their art, just like any other artist would do with their own form of art.

Lily tattoo

Rose tattoo

Peony tattoo

Butterfly Tattoo

Of course, tattoos are not everybody’s cup of tea and to be honest there are some tattoos I do not like myself. I certainly do not like any tattoo that is offensive in any way. But when you see a tattoo, some may be that memorial to someone or some other personal meaning that may not always be obvious to begin with… just like a memorial planting in a garden.

“A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye.  As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition. ” ~V. Vale and Andrea Juno

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alison
    Jun 03, 2012 @ 18:26:51

    My daughter has a tattoo based on one of the dahlias from my garden, I love the fact that she wears a reminder of my garden wherever she goes


  2. tattoos pictures
    Jun 05, 2012 @ 08:57:47

    Hello, I think your blog could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, wonderful blog!


  3. Liz
    Jun 16, 2012 @ 19:22:20


    I like the sleeve! Tbh I much prefer to see sleeves and generally dislike seeing disjointed random tats on people. I don’t have any myself – mainly because I’m too chicken – but do appreciate nicely designed and considered tats.


    • thetattooedgardener
      Jun 16, 2012 @ 20:11:32

      I prefer sleeves myself.I’m looking at getting my right arm finished now. There’s nothing to be scared of, the only place where it is really painful on the arm… is near the armpit area!!


      • Rob
        Oct 14, 2012 @ 21:25:06

        I found the elbow, both inside and out to be quite painful. Worth it though. Very thought provoking post.

  4. ontheedgegardening
    Jul 13, 2014 @ 21:15:27

    Although I don’t have any tattoos myself I do like them (mostly) and believe it to be an underrated art form. The lilies are particularly beautiful. When I meet you I will insist on examining yours in great detail, which is probably cheeky!


  5. thelonggardenpath
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 18:40:39

    I confess that tattoos are not my cup of tea! But there’s no denying the skill and art involved in creating beautiful pictures like you’ve shown us. If it means something to the wearer, it then becomes a very personal and often poignant thing. I am always reminded of my grandad every time I use his old garden tools!


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