Adopting Cemetery Plot...ideas?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by jillianjiggs, Aug 16, 2004.

  1. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    I run a small family foundation that normally focuses on breast health. As a little side venture, we're adopting four family plots at a local historic cemetery. Most of the families in the area were interred between 1850 and 1900. The area was originally restored by a man in the 1980's, and he just recently passed away. I picked the area mainly because it called to me. It's covered by a nice shade tree, and has a beautiful flowering tree with dark pink blossoms. There are several plantings that are in need of some TLC and a good dose of mulch.

    I noticed a large planting of irises (what kind, I have no clue) that look like they're naturalizing in the front plot. I was thinking digging up iris' and dividing the rhizomes. There is something that was trained into a small tree, like a rose bush, but it's definately not a rose. There are some sad looking roses..again, I'm not sure what kind because they're not in bloom. There's a couple little bushes, some random flowers, etc.

    I know the area needs mulch badly. What kind would you recommend? I have a worm farm, and I was planning on fertilizing with the worm poo because the cemetery doesn't like chemicals to be used anywhere near the monuments. The Target down the street donates annuals every once in awhile, but I'm not fond of annuals because of the short life span and how delicate they are.

    Any ideas on how to fill out the bed with color that will last most of the year, but still keep in pretty inexpensive?

    (I should be heading down there tomorrow...hopefully I'll get some pictures)

    http://www.oldcitycemetery.com/
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Yes, picture would be great. Annuals are nice because they will bloom all summer if deadheaded periodically. Most will reseed for you and come back the next year. For something like that I personally prefer bark mulch or wood chips because they are less likely to be blown away in the winter. If you put bunny poo around all the roses and mulch heavily (also give them a good dose of bone meal), they will prob come out nicely for you. Splitting up the iris should be a good thing. Hard to say much else with out seeing the spot you are working with.
     

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A few hostas of variouse colors would stand the shade and look good all year.
     
  4. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Those are nice pictures. What part of the country are you in. I noticed that there doesn't seem to be any sod growing in these plots. Was the stone put there to take the place of sod? All the cemetarys here are covered with native blue grass. Also what is the rainfall situation there? That might eliminate plants common here.
     
  6. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    The newer section (1950-60s until now) has sod laid and flat headstones that are flush with the sod. This section has full family plots marked with brick, marble, or granite. There are a lot of mausoleums, and you can see a little of one in one of the pictures I posted.

    I live in N. California, and the cemetery is in Sacramento. We're zone 9A I believe. We get about 15 inches of rain a year, with most of it falling between Nov. and March. Here's a list of the approved plants, with a link to the plants that are forbidden. http://www.oldcitycemetery.com/_sharedtemplates/adopt/adopt_suitable_plants.htm
    If there isn't something on the approved list, I can ask if it's alright to use. I'd like to find some kind of spreading ground cover that isn't a noxious weed, but the only one I found on the approved list is the rose family...

    Here's the county's pictures of the plots that have been redone.
    http://www.oldcitycemetery.com/_sharedtemplates/adopt/adopt_gallery.htm
     
  7. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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  8. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I just love old cemetaries, and this one is so lovely! What fun to get to fix it up!


    Are you responsible for the planters on each side of the benches?

    Does the cemetary get supplimental water? 15 inches is not very much.

    I think I would go with a single color as a main statement and play around that with different shades.

    I would also put taller plants behind the tall headstones. Are you going to try some repair to the broken one? And rip out that funky topiary. It is out of place there. Isn't that angel beautiful?!

    A ground cover can actually be more trouble than just pulling all the weeds and doing what is needed to make the rock mulch look better.

    The iris look odd next to that tall monument. It would look better with some rounded low bushy plants around it.
     
  9. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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  10. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    The planters on either side of the bench are 'mine.' Part of the reason that I chose the spot is that there's a spigot not too far away, and a nice long hose. :) No hauling water for me. It's quite a large cemetery, with about 50 acres (I believe) or so with burials. It's the highest point in Sacramento, and has been used as a safe spot during the floods!

    I'd love to get the two broken headstones repaired. I think I might have a connection with a monument company in Roseville that does AWESOME work. If you look in the picture, the cross shaped stone has been repaired by mounting the crumbling stone onto a new piece of marble, and then the gaps were filled with a special cement. The city has suffered tremendous budget cuts, so our best chance of getting the stones repaired is by getting out and pounding the pavement to look for a volunteer with stoneworking skills.

    I had planned on ripping out the topiary, or at the very least replanting it. I'm still not even sure what in the heck it is. I've been there once a week for the past month, and I haven't seen as much as one flower or new leaf.

    I was thinking I might incorporate a creeping thyme and rosemary. They're low maint. and smell nice. I'm also thinking of buying the mulch that is 'shreds' of wood instead of chunks. You spread it on about five inches thick, water it down, and it ends up about 3 inches thick. It's supposed to be almost impermeable to weeds. With the hot summer sun (think over 100 a good part of the time) we need a good, thick mulch.
     
  11. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    The creeping rosemary and thyme sound lovely. Maybe some lavender? You want to preserve the victorian ambiance of course. (I remember sacramento as hot and dry in the summer. We lived there in '60 and '61 in Rosedale.) The shade is a definite plus in getting anything to grow. I would stay away from anything that needs lots of water to look good, just in case you go to water rationing. You might want to do a 'mediterranian herb garden' theme to go with the rosemary/thyme. Then you can put in herbs that prefer hot and dry. The Victorians were really big on themed gardens. (Maybe someone else would like the roses and iris for their plot? )The wood shreds sounds great too. I hope you can connect with someone to repair the stones.