So why was the practice of cemetery plantings discontinued? Cemeteries without sufficient grounds crews do not want the added work of tending to plantings around graves. Many plants will spread quickly if not tended regularly. Families usually plant and then forget to do the general up-keep. To make life easier on everyone involved, many cemeteries now offer an option to purchase a bush or tree in a selected area as a remembrance of your loved one or family. The cemetery will have a list of pre-approved plantings or may allow the family to make a different choice, if approved by the cemetery before planting.
There are several plants that lend themselves nicely to cemetery planting. These include some of the traditional favorites that you see in the older cemeteries and graveyards, peonies, lilies, hostas, irises, yucca, roses, tulips and daffodils. Most graveyards and cemeteries include cedar trees, yew trees, and firs, those that represent the ‘evergreen’ design. Maples, oaks and elms are also favorite cemetery trees due to the longevity, hardiness and their beautiful autumn colors.
There are cemeteries around the country that are designated arboretums and horticultural hotspots. These maintain a serene and tranquil look and feel of being more than just a cemetery. Many have tree and flower maps so that visitors may tour the grounds, looking for specific trees and plantings. These cemeteries encourage visitors to enjoy the park-like atmosphere by providing walking trails, small ponds with fountains, and well-landscaped grounds and flowerbeds. Here are some of the finest cemetery/arboretums in the U.S.:
Or, you may decide that a flower carved into stone is the choice you want - no upkeep, always in bloom.
Regardless, well-planted, maintained and landscaped cemeteries are beautiful to visit, providing a serene experience for family and loved ones, tombstone tourists, and horticultural sightseers to share.