Cemetery Planting Guidelines & Controversy

Thanks to all who attended the Preservation Commission Meeting on April 13.

Click here to view a video of the hearing http://sacramento.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=30
As you know, City staff issued planting "guidelines" for Cemetery volunteers.  They include removing supports from climbing roses and require that monuments to be visible from all sides.  Reasons given for this change were stated by City staff and do not seem to be based on scientific research or requirements of historic preservation.  Thanks to Councilmember Steve Hansen, these guidelines are on hold pending resolution of differences between the cemetery garden volunteers and City staff.  The City staff report and comments from concerned citizens were heard at the Preservation Commission's April meeting.

While City staff have proposed a team to reconsider their plan, rose lovers and other gardeners seem to have been again excluded from the process.  Please let the City Preservation Commission and the City Council and the City Manager know that any reconsideration needs to include both the public and knowledgeable garden volunteers.  Here are some talking points:

SAVE Sacramento Historic GARDEN Cemetery –What you need to know.

SacBee March 12th story first time public learned cemetery gardens were endangered.

Process was flawed. Public uproar; existing guidelines do not reflect public expectations.   

  • · Existing Adhoc committee not appropriate public forum.
  • · Draft of Plant guidelines shared Jan 27; finalized Feb.19.
  • · No public discussion of guidelines’ impact.
  • · Preservation Commission was bypassed.

Public Loves Existing Cemetery Garden

  • · 1866 cemetery photograph shows plants next to cemetery monuments, structures
  •  and trellises.
  • · Replicates Garden Cemetery of the 19th century—living tribute to time and place.
  • · Victorian charm--roses spilling over trellises and tombstones; not just hard edged tombstones.

National Register Historic Designation is as a “GARDEN Cemetery”

  • · Emphasis on hard objects, like markers and statues, at the expense of the garden aspect
  • devalues its historic integrity.
  • · Presence of roses and trellises do not jeopardize listing on National Historic Register.
  • · Meets Secretary of Interior standards for historic resources.
  • · Nomination submitted by city prominently includes multiple mentions of the rose garden and notes the collection of historic California roses as a contributing feature.

What’s Wrong with the Guidelines

  • · Guidelines demonized most plants as harmful--No plants near monuments and structures.
  • · Removing structures and relegating roses and other plantings to the periphery of the
  • cemetery undermines the historic context of the cemetery as a GARDEN.
  • · Sweeping changes negatively impacts the cemetery and may jeopardize historic designation.
  • · Moving established roses not the answer; very costly and puts rose at risk.
  • · Requires ability to see monuments from all directions. Flexible approach would maintain roses and shrubs so inscription on the face of markers can be read.
  • · Idea that plantings near monuments can trap moisture and damage monuments is ludicrous
  • · Ignores fact that irrigation may be causing more damage.

Roses are Living History

  • · Collection of rare and historic roses from pioneer cemeteries and homesteads.
  • · Volunteers propagate roses to replace roses lost at other cemeteries and historical sites.
  • · Historic Roses are not reproductions but genetically same as original plant

Historic Rose Garden Worldwide Tourist attraction.