Category: News

Horticulture Apprenticeship

October 1, 2019

Mount Auburn’s year-long Horticulture Apprenticeship was created in 2014 to provide training and experience to a student or recent graduate seeking a career in public horticulture. Not only do participants provide a valuable contribution to Mount Auburn’s landscape, but they also get to build on their academic knowledge by learning firsthand how our staff applies these theories on a practical level around the Cemetery. Past apprentices have gone on to work at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Arnold Arboretum, and Mount Auburn’s own full-time staff.

Our current apprentices are Alex Wolfe (pictured left), who came to Mount Auburn in the spring of 2018 and has been hired for an additional year, and Alexandra Melian (pictured right), who began in the spring of 2019.

Spotlight: Alex Wolfe

Alex Wolfe, our 2018-2020 Horticulture Apprentice, came to Mount Auburn with a B.S. in Pre-Veterinary and Animal Sciences from the University of Delaware, and previously worked for local garden design and landscaping company Parterre Garden Services and as a horticulture assistant at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Highlights of her experience: I think my favorite projects and highlights of my time here have been when I’m involved in planting projects. The main project I worked on last year and am involved in again this year are plantings in the Dell and the Dell meadow. I also loved that the focus of that area involves the use of native plants. Since beginning work here, my plant identification skills have exponentially grown.

Spotlight: Alexandra Melian

Alexandra Melian, our 2019-2020 Horticulture Apprentice, came to Mount Auburn with a B.S. in Sustainable Landscape Horticulture and a minor in Geospatial Technologies from the University of Vermont (UVM). It was at UVM that she was introduced to organic agriculture and worked a total of nearly three farm seasons, as well as a horticultural assistant on UVM’s campus.

Highlights of her experience: My favorite way that I’ve spent my time here at Mount Auburn so far has been within the Gardening Department, and specifically when working on Asa Gray Garden. I love the continual upkeep and revision necessary in keeping the space beautiful, from weeding to planting to editing plant spread.

The Horticulture Apprenticeships are funded in part by donors to the Friends of Mount Auburn. If you’re interested in making a gift to support the program, please contact Jenny Gilbert, Director of Institutional Advancement at 617-607-1970 or jgilbert@mountauburn.org.

Welcome Eleanor Gould!

September 30, 2019

Eleanor Gould has joined Mount Auburn Cemetery’s Executive Leadership Team as Vice President of Horticulture & Landscape, reporting directly to President & CEO Dave Barnett. In addition to being responsible for leadership and effective management of the Horticulture Department, comprising 17 full-time and 34 seasonal staff, Eleanor will be responsible for design and implementation of landscape improvements that achieve longterm strategic objectives such as increasing plant diversity,enhancing the sustainability and wildlife habitat value of the landscape, and preserving the historic character of this National Historic Landmark.

Eleanor recently completed the prestigious Longwood Fellowship program at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. This 14-month-long program is designed to develop proven leaders as the next generation of executive leadership in public horticulture. Prior to that, Eleanor spent eight yearsat Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson in Virginia. She started as a Seasonal Gardener, maintaining the historic flower and vegetable gardens and leading interpretive garden tours, eventually becoming the Curator of Gardens from 2014 to 2018. Eleanor has a Master of Landscape Architecturedegree from the University of Virginia School of Architecture.

In his announcement of Eleanor’s hiring to the staff, Dave Barnett said: “I look forward to working with Eleanor and am certain that she will bring strong leadership to an already phenomenal Horticulture staff. We are indeed fortunate to have Eleanor join our team!”

Historical Collections Announces New On-Line Resource

September 26, 2019

Announcing the launch of a new on-line collections database that will give unprecedented access to many of the catalogued records that comprise the Cemetery’s Historical Collections & Archives. “People often have no idea what a cemetery would collect and preserve,” says Curator Meg L. Winslow. “The public will now be able to access a wide range of historic images to learn more about the history of Mount Auburn and the dramatic changes through time of our extraordinary landscape.”

While the on-line database includes more than 2,000 records to date, it represents less than 5 percent of our catalogued collections. A great way to get started is by selecting the “Random Images” tab, which pulls up a selection of catalog images from the Photographs, Objects, Archives, and Libraries collections. Users of the easy-to-navigate site can also make specific searches for the Entrance Gateway, Asa Gray Garden, Bigelow Chapel, and Washington Tower, among others. In addition, there are searches for keywords such as monument, horticulture, and tree; as well as for people by name.

Historical Collections staff have played essential roles in producing the site with Winslow. Elizabeth Casner recommends one of her favorite searches: “visitor,” which retrieves the variety of images illustrating the many visitors to the Cemetery from early days to the present. “Having the collections accessible online,” Thom Burns notes, “will allow people around the world to engage with our history and the many stories of our residents.”  

Visitors are encouraged to explore the site and to return often as new records continue to be published.

To visit: mountauburn.pastperfectonline.com.

Veterans’ Monument Preservation Underway

May 24, 2019

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War. With military and non-military deaths totaling an estimated 750,000 people, Americans had to contend with death on a larger scale than ever before. As people across the country sought ways to honor those who died in the conflict, the decoration of soldiers’ graves became a frequent form of commemoration.

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