There is a cemetery not too far from my house that is very peaceful to walk through. Many of the graves are beautifully decorated with blooming flowers and plants. When a loved one passes on and you’re wondering how to honor their resting place, choose a planting carefully.
Every cemetery has its own plant decoration rules and regulations so it’s important to know what those are as you’re making your decisions.
Karma Larsen is a communications associate with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. She says you’ll have the best results if the plants are easy to care for.
"I think it’s going to have to be low maintenance unless you’re able to be there. So it’s probably going to have to be drought resistant, really hardy, it could get mowed off, somebody comes in who’s never mowed before, I mean, it just has to be awfully tough," says Larsen.
Look around the cemetery to see what plants are thriving under similar site conditions such as sunlight and available moisture.
Larsen recommends plants such as peonies, aster, bee balm, catmint, coneflower, black-eyed susan, hosta, and sedum. Ground covers are another option, but you have to be careful that they don’t grow out of control. Native plants are adapted to local conditions and usually require the least maintenance.
Also think about when people are visiting and what plants would be at their peak.
"Cemeteries do tend to have a lot of spring-blooming peonies and lilacs, this sort of thing, that might be blooming at Memorial Day, which is wonderful," she says. "But if there’s a birthday or some other event, it’s nice to time it for a time people will be visiting."
Another way to choose is by how it connects to that person – transplants from Grandma’s favorite flower garden, rocks from the farm, and other reminders that they and you took pleasure in.