Tattoo-sday: Floral Childhood Garden Half Sleeve

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Not a lot of my tattoos are planned out for years. Most of them were gotten on a whim of a couple weeks or hours. But my floral piece was years of planning. My phone was filled with screenshots of flowers, I had a constantly evolving note on my phone with different types of flowers, and I was constantly researching artists.


The biggest flowers in the piece are Passion Flowers. Native to humid climates, they bloom during the summer and are called “Passion” after the passion of Christ. Apparently they have a bunch of Jesus symbolism. I just love their complexity.

I saw a photo once as a kid and immediately told my mom I needed them. She helped hunt them down, and immediately after we planted them in the front yard, the gardener cut them down. I was devastated. Over a year later, they bloomed anyway. Somehow, they survived the plant reckoning and re-sprouted, filling our summer yard with hundreds of flowers. I used to cut them off and give them to my favorite people.

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The other major flowers are Birds of Paradise and Morning Glories, both flowers that grew in my childhood home. I was convinced the Birds of Paradise were real birds, hibernating. I cut one open once and felt like a murderer for weeks.

The Morning Glories covered our back fence, and I was convinced that fairies lived inside of them. I would sit incredibly still of what felt like hours, hoping the fairies would be comfortable and let me see them.

The remaining space is filled with California Poppies, as a nod to home; bumblebees for spring and renewal and hard working; and a ladybug, for luck and eventually, an unintentional nod to my great aunt.

My floral piece started as a nod to my love for flowers, but it turned into a nostalgic ode to imagination, a fanciful reminder of childhood gardening with my mother, and a colorful work of art I love looking at every day.

This amazing piece was done by Becca Gillen at Mainline Ink.

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