Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cemetery Plants

The Environment/Weather Powers That Be promised us that we would not have a drought like last summer.
They lied.
We have had basically no rain in the month of August and it shows everywhere.
I started thinking again about using more drought tolerant plants in my own garden and wondered where I could get ideas besides the Internet lists.
Ah! the cemetery!!

Cemeteries water only the display areas. The lawns are never watered and relatives or friends must tend the gravesides themselves. Basically the plants must be drought tolerant to survive.

The cemetery management encourages shrubs and evergreens and that's why this one looks quite good design-wise.

But shrubs and evergreens grow so one has to remember to factor in mature height and spread (or prune and tend them fastidiously) or they will outgrow their allotted area.

So what does well in these open, windy, dry sunny conditions? Sedum 'Autumn Joy' seems to do excellently.

This particular Hosta (no variegation) seems to be able to handle the sunny conditions.

And the ever-faithful Euonymus can hold its own as well.

Here a combination of annuals (geraniums and cordalyne) and evergreens (cedar) do well.

Above, violets add a perennial clump of greenery to red geraniums.

Here is a winning combination: boxwood right in front of the headstone, Dusty Miller as a silver accent and mix of red and white fibrous begonias as the accent. Now I know that this site is watered weekly which may account for its lushness but still - I think the choice of plants are drought tolerant.

The 3 photos above show a colourful combination of annuals that are probably watered weekly but nevertheless have survived this summer of heat, high humidity and drought.
Keep these in mind if drought is a factor in your area during the summer months.

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Foxglove Lane Studio said...

Actually you have made me think about the inspiration I could get from cemetaries there are so many old ones here in Ireland!! Love the thinking behind this post Astrid:~))

Nadezda said...

Astrid, you are right: the flowers and plants grow in cemetery without any care and survive! I think the conifers, hostas, Euonymus and cineraria go well to this place and are enough hardy to drought.

Astrid said...

Hello Catherine
Graveyards are so interesting and full of history. I can just imagine the fabulous shots you could get in old Irish cemeteries. I will be watching your blog for examples. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Hi Nadezda
Cemetery plants are totally neglected and subject to the elements. So if something thrives there, it's probably worth planting back home because it will be very low maintenance.

HELENE said...

Fabulous post Astrid, and a very well kept cemetery you have chosen too, not all look that well over here! I did buy some drought tolerant plants after the last time we had a drought in 2005-2006, but they died a few years later. It is hard to choose plants for a certain amount of precipitation for my garden because it varies so much, the last few spring and summers we have almost drowned in rain, this year we have hardly had any – I have gone for a middle-of-the-road in terms of plants, thinking they will survive most conditions the weather throws at them.

Astrid said...

Hi Helene
Thank you! Yes, all gardeners are at the mercy of Mother Nature but I think we have extremes more now than in the past. And you are right - there are few plants that can stand very wet AND very dry weather. Oh well - we must just carry on :)

Jennifer said...

Interesting post Astrid. There is a tiny cemetery at Dixie and Derry in Brampton that I often pass and end up admiring. The stones are old, old and crumbling. Clustered around them are sedums and tall columns of Feather Reed grass. In the late day sun, the grave markers and the plantings have a haunting beauty that I would like to capture in pictures one day.

Astrid said...

Go for it Jennifer! Late day light on stone would make for very interesting photos.