Category: Grounds

Working Together to Create a More Sustainable Mount Auburn

October 15, 2016

Mount Auburn Cemetery is a cherished landscape.  It is cherished for its beauty and tranquility, and for its historical significance.  But if you look closer, Mount Auburn is much more than this.  It is a vibrant institution, leading the way on sustainable horticultural practice and reinventing what a sacred place can be.  Mount Auburn has gained a reputation as an urban oasis.  Ripe for many forms of scientific and social interpretation, from citizen science inquiry, to a backdrop for many artists to delve into the questions of life, death, and remembrance.

Mount Auburn is always changing.  Visitors may notice the seasonal cycles on the grounds, but the changes that are unseen are equally important.  We are striving to become as significant for sustainability, as we are for our plant collections and monuments. (more…)

Drought is about More than Brown Lawns

September 1, 2016

During a moderate or severe drought at Mount Auburn, we try to irrigate the new plantings that are zero (0) to five (5) years old, newly seeded lawn areas, and any trees that may have been stressed even before the drought began.  We anticipate that some lawn areas will go brown – that is, dormant – until rain comes back to the region to brighten up the grass.  But there’s another much more serious condition that is less well known.

Around 7:00AM on August 17, 2016, an otherwise ‘healthy’ limb dropped from an old oak tree for no apparent reason.  This dropping of a long and relatively horizontal limb is characteristic of a phenomenon known as “summer branch drop” or “sudden limb failure.”  There are different theories as to why this happens, but most experts believe it is partly due to a lack of adequate moisture in the soil.  Our full-time arborist staff continually evaluates our tree collection and corrects structural deficiencies; however, since the science is not fully known for this problem, it is always smart to be aware of your surroundings and if you hear a popping or tearing noise from a tree move quickly away from it and notify a staff member.

Researching Mount Auburn’s Thirty Most Significant Monuments

March 27, 2016

by Marilynne K. Roach, Historian

In 2015 I had the good fortune to join Mount Auburn Cemetery’s IMLS project to research and document thirty of their most significant monuments. My job was to conduct off-site research before the grant’s end of the year deadline.

Several of the thirty monuments were already well documented. For others, we needed to find more information about the monument’s symbolism and inspiration; the sculptors, architects, and carvers who made them; the person being commemorated, any association they or their families may have had with the makers and reasons for their choices; donors who may have commissioned the work and how it was financed; where it was constructed and how it was shipped to its final site; and if there was a dedication. (more…)

Friends Seeks Support to Conserve Three Monuments

March 24, 2016

After the successful conservation of the Binney Monument in 2014 and the Magoun Monument in 2015, the Friends of Mount Auburn is seeking funds to conserve the next three monuments in Mount Auburn’s Significant Monument Collection:

In 1868, German immigrant and successful businessman Arnold M. Coppenhagen and his wife, Mehitable Coppenhagen, tragically lost their thirty-year-old daughter Maria, for whom they had great affection. Mrs. Coppenhagen commissioned the up-and-coming Boston artist Martin Milmore, who was at the time working in Rome, to sculpt the moving monument to Maria. Milmore, who also carved the Mount Auburn Sphinx, was Boston’s leading sculptor in the mid-1800s and is known for his Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the Boston Common. The Maria Frances Coppenhagen Monument (Lot #3733 Sycamore Path)  features a full-sized, sculpted Angel of Resurrection holding a trumpet. It was lauded in the nineteenth century and is recognized today as one of Milmore’s finest works. However, the elegant statue is now dirty and covered with biological growth. The marble surface has cracked, and the long, elegant wings of the angel are in danger of breaking. (more…)