Asa Gray Garden

July 1, 2018

Since the 1850s, Mount Auburn’s most significant ornamental garden has evolved to reflect changing horticultural trends and landscape design styles. Today, visitors will find a quiet, contemporary space that is equally welcoming, comforting, and inspiring, a reflection of Mount Auburn’s best qualities.

Situated just inside the Cemetery’s Egyptian Revival Gateway, Asa Gray Garden serves a focal point and gathering place for arriving visitors. More than 170 species of trees, shrubs, flowering perennials, flowering annuals, bulbs, and grasses provide color, texture, and unique interest in all four seasons. A series of paths lead visitors in and through the garden while benches and seating ensembles encourage visitors to rest and reflect. The Pierce Fountain, which anchors the renovated garden, evokes the meditative qualities of the Cemetery’s broader landscape.

The garden’s diverse mix of species from both Eastern Asian and Eastern North America, help to celebrate the legacy of botanist Asa Gary (1810 – 1888), the Garden’s namesake. While working with herbarium specimens, Gray discovered the striking similarities between American and Asian plant species and used his research to advance the hypothesis that these species descended from common ancestors. Several specific pairings within the garden now pay tribute to the “Father of American Botany.”


On June 28, 2018, after a year of extensive renovations, we celebrated the official completion of Asa Gray Garden with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The space has been open for the public’s use and enjoyment ever since.

This ambitious project would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors. While the renovation has been completed, we are continuing to raise additional funds to support the crucial landscaping and maintenance work that is still ahead of us. It is this often-overlooked work that will ensure that the new plants are properly established and can suitably showcase the beautiful new design, helping Asa Gray Garden to flourish in the coming years. To support this project, please make your gift online.


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