Wednesday Vignette – buried?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have driven past this place. Yet, I had never noticed these oddities before the other day. What are they? Well, of course they are shrubs, manicured beyond definition, but that’s not what I meant. What I meant is – what ARE they?

That obelisk thing is of course a tomb stone, but that's not the one I'm talking about. I wonder about the green tombstone. The one in the background.

That obelisk thing is of course a tombstone, but that’s not the one I’m talking about. I wonder about the green one. The one in the background.

Here are some more of them.

Here are some more of them, interspersed among their granite equivalents.

For all intents and purposes, they look like plants acting like tombstones. Their random placement and their forced, upright, polished perfection give them away. I can just hear the dialog at the funeral home; “…. A less expensive, and more temporary option is our living rock. Naturally – to make it easy on families, you understand – it comes with a standard maintenance contract, which includes watering and regular pruning…. Oh yes, fertilizer is built in, so to speak. Once the living rock has lived out its life, your plot will be passed on to a different user…. Pardon, what was that? Oh no, it is very rare that the life span of our green option is shorter than the mourning period. It is very practical that way – so much less to worry about…”

What do you all think? Is that what they really are? I couldn’t stop laughing when I first saw them. So very quirky and weird… I don’t think I’ve ever seen its like before. Have you?






About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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21 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – buried?

  1. What you suggest seems right to me. They remind me of our woodland burial grounds:

  2. Mark and Gaz says:

    I wonder if they get ejected when the space is needed later…

  3. FlowerAlley says:

    I have a new take on this for you. I was on a church cemetery committee.(They wanted to add some landscaping)
    There are some boxwood shrubs and cedars in both the church cemeteries.
    There was opposition to any removal of these random plants.
    The rulings NOW are very clear about NOT planting any plants among the graves due to the fact that it makes maintenance so much more difficult.
    One very old(and mean) lady planted a shrub on her husband’s grave. She was told many times to remove it. Then she died and now no one will remove it.
    The point is. She was old and for some reason felt his grave should have a shrub.
    Maybe it is for plant people like me who hate fake flowers.
    Ask some old folks.

    • annamadeit says:

      Hmm, that’s an interesting take on it. Was her shrub pruned to resemble a tombstone, or was it left to grow, I wonder?

      • FlowerAlley says:

        Her shrub was tiny. There were groomed boxwood in the older cemeteries.??????

        • annamadeit says:

          Sounds like the cemetery committee ideals might have been the inspiration for so many current day HOAs. Seems odd to force such stringent rules of conformity to the living… But, I guess we’re all equal in death, so why allow for any individualized commemoration… right?

          • FlowerAlley says:

            If every grave had a bush, statue, flowers, etc., think of the mess. There ws a ditch full of blown off flowers back in the woods. Someone was constantly having to haul all the jumbled old plastic flowers away.
            I never thought about all this until I got stuck on that committee.
            You need to ask old folks about cedars, shrubs and tombstones. It is complicated. Whew!

          • annamadeit says:

            I bet… I guess there could be a size limitation on what could be planted? In Sweden, it is usually flowers in a vase, but many plant little annuals, smaller shrubs, etc. I don’t think it would be too messy.

  4. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Barbara Allen was buried in the old churchyard
    Sweet William was buried beside her,
    Out of sweet William’s heart, there grew a rose
    From Barbara’s a green briar.

    They grew and grew in the old churchyard
    Till they could grow no higher
    At the end they formed a true lover’s knot
    And the rose grew round the briar.

    Nothing about a clipped shrub in the Ballad of Barbara Allen. Perhaps, like FlowerAlley suggests, this is a remnant of some former landscaping scheme. Perhaps a way that the graveyard marks unused plots, the shrubs removed as the spaces are used? You could find the phone number of a funeral home that uses this graveyard and ask.

    My WV is here:

  5. annamadeit says:

    Oh Peter – leave it to you to bring me a poem! 🙂 I think these shrubs would have looked much less sinister if embraced by a rose… Your idea of the shrubs marking the available plots is a good one. I just might have to call and check.

  6. Okay I’ve got to be honest…I love it! I see them as art. Green shapes mimicking the tombstones but breaking up the endless grey, which could be very depressing in our grey winters. Although at least the lawn would be green in winter. Imagine your header image without the shaped shrubs. So boring! (on a side note, is this the cemetery on Fremont? I’ve long wanted to explore that one)

    My vignette (which features green accents with “cement” too):

    • annamadeit says:

      That is a very good point! It’s the shaping that I find odd – not the planting of the shrubs themselves. I still wonder if they are an alternative to stone, or if they are just added to pretty things up a bit, per your suggestion. And yes – it is the one on Fremont and 57th, across the street from FOM. I have to confess that I didn’t quite explore it – I just snapped a few photos.

  7. As always, an interesting take! I suspect that the cemetery didn’t plan its space with the future population explosion in mind. I like to see some green in a cemetery but then I like to see green everywhere I go. Although I’m not fond of cemeteries in general, feeling that there are better ways to use land in our increasingly crowded world, I remember feeling disappointed by the sterility of the Forest Lawn Cemetery where I buried my mother. She insisted on burial there as that is where my father was buried – actually, she wanted me to have my father and grandmother dug up so all 3 could be buried together. Years in advance, I told her I found that objectionable and wouldn’t do it but that’s another story. I learned that cemeteries have become very crowded places and new bodies may be buried on top of old ones – I expect the bodies are now crowding the original landscaping plan too, such as it was.

    My WV is a different take on my harbor view:

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, burials like that is kind of a weird concept – at least to me. I would much prefer having my ashes scattered somewhere, and never trouble anyone again, to being stacked on top of a bunch of other bones.

  8. Alison says:

    The shaping of the shrubs to resemble the headstones is kind of odd. Like Loree said though, they do provide a nice touch of green among all that gray. My WV post is here:

  9. hb says:

    They look like Arborvitae, a common name for which is “tree of life”–surely interesting for a graveyard. It is a pretty green…

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