The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Northern England and Southern Scotland in 1841

Cemetery Grass

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One great defect in all the cemeteries that we have ever seen, and to which the Necropolis does not form an exception, is the coarseness of the grass. Where the surface is rough and rocky, smooth short grass can only be obtained by frequent and careful clipping, or by eating with sheep. The former might be accomplished by infirm persons of both sexes; letting the surface out in portions at so much for the season, and teaching the contracting parties that, by never allowing the leaves of the grass to grow more than half an inch or an inch in length, they would so weaken the roots as greatly to reduce their labour. If the mode of grazing by sheep were adopted, a neat wire fence would require to be placed round each of the flower-gardens; but that would be rather ornamental than otherwise. In cemeteries on tolerably even ground, if newly made graves were always finished level with the adjoining surface, as in some of the Edinburgh and Leith burial-grounds, and in several English ones (Gard. Mag. for 1841, p. 590.), there would be no difficulty in keeping the grass short and smooth with the scythe. Next to the grass, the walks and roads require attention, and those of the Necropolis have the common fault of deep, irregular, raw edgings, in which the idea of the spade-work necessary to produce this rawness continually obtrudes itself, and destroys the idea of completeness and repose. Much of beauty and character might be created in churchyards and cemeteries, if curators could be found who had some knowledge of gardening, and especially of trees and shrubs. We could wish that it were considered essential to have a gardener as a curator; but this alone would not be sufficient; it is necessary that the public should know what a churchyard or