Have you ever wondered what happens to the maintenance of a departed person’s gravestone when there are no living family members to visit it anymore?
Well, there is a volunteer group that plants flowers in one of Philadelphia’s rural cemeteries and gives a little extra love and care to some empty cradle graves.
The Woodlands Grave Gardeners are a group of volunteer gardeners that adopt and maintain individual cradle graves throughout The Woodlands cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Cradle graves were popular during the Victorian era and are made up of a gravestone and a small rectangular planter bed. These beds usually contain flowers and plants maintained by loved ones.
“There would have been flowers virtually everywhere,” said Jessica Baumert, the organization’s executive director, in an interview with CBS News.
“Roses. Climbing vines. Families basically would come, and they would treat their family’s lot as a garden space.”
However, due to all sorts of circumstances and families moving away, the Woodlands cemetery was full of cradle graves that have been flowerless for large periods of time. The Grave Gardeners are working to reverse that.
Volunteers from the Grave Gardeners adopt a cradle grave, plant Victorian-style plants, and flowers, and take care of it during the growing season.
How lovely is that? It’s an especially great tribute to William Hamilton, who once owned an estate on the land where the Woodlands is located. He was a plant collector and amateur botanist.
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