Horticultural Restoration at Consecration Dell

October 26, 2011

On September 24th, Mount Auburn celebrated its 180th Anniversary.  In honor of the occasion, it seems appropriate to look at the area where the Cemetery’s Consecration took place in 1831, the area we know now as Consecration Dell.  Both the geographic and metaphoarical heart of the Cemetery, the Dell is an important chapter in our evolving history and represents a unique horticultural space within our landscape.

For the past fifteen years, the Cemetery has worked to restore the Dell to a native New England woodland.  This restoration project has included the removal of invasive, non-native plant species, in particular the Norway Maple, and new introductions of appropriate trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and groundcovers.

Here is some of what you can now find growing and thriving in the Dell:

Anemone canadensis, Canada Anemone

Anemonella thalicitroides, Rue Anemone

Aquilegia candensis, Canadian Columbine

Arisaema triphyllum, Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Aster corifolius, Heart Leaved Aster

Aster macrophyllus, Large-leaf Aster

Cimicifuga racemosa, Bugbane

Caultheria procumbens, Wintergreen

Gilenia trifoliata, Bowman’s Root

Heuchera americana, Coral Bell

Iris versicolor, Blue Flag Iris

Maianthemum canadense, Canadian Mayflower

Podophyllum peltatum, May Apple

Polygonatum odoratum, Solomon Seal

Smilacina racemosa, False Solomon’s Seal

Solidago odora, Goldenrod

Tiarella cordifolia, Foam Flower

Trillium grandiflorum, White Trillium

Uvularia sessifolia, Merrybells

Waldsteinia fragariodes, Barren Strawberry

Xanthorhiza simplicissima, Yellowroot

Due to the Dell’s steep slopes, one of the many goals of this restoration project has been to combat soil erosion.  Rather than shoring up the swtich-back trails throughout the dell with timber, the Cemetery has secured compost-filled burlap tubes on some of the steepest terrain.  Plants injected directly into these tubes will, overtime, take root in the ground.  Mount Auburn’s Horticultural Curator Dennis Collins spoke about these burlap tubes earlier this year.  Take a look at this video to learn more about the process:

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