Monday, March 28, 2011

The Garden Symposium in Lynchburg, Virginia

This past weekend, The Husband and I went to Lynchburg, Virginia, to attend the annual spring Garden Symposium at the Lynchburg Old City Cemetery.  This is an event that I look forward to every year!  It is incredibly well organized, and there are fabulous speakers.  Combine this with the atmosphere of the cemetery, and it makes for a wonderful weekend!

The Old City Cemetery is a treasure!  It is owned by the city of Lynchburg, and operated in cooperation with the Southern Memorial Association, a non-profit foundation.  The cemetery's 27 acres contain five museums and an impressive collection of historic bulbs, shrubs, trees, and ROSES ... all beautifully maintained in a park-like atmosphere.

The roses are all pruned and staged for their big show later this spring.

The Symposium was lightly attended this year.  This made for a very intimate atmosphere for us in the audience, and gave us ample opportunity to have all of our questions answered.  The weather was threatening, with cloudy skies all day, but the rain held off until we were on our way home on Saturday evening!

This is the Confederate Section of the cemetery, with row after row of simple headstones.

The speakers this year were superb, as always.  Peggy Singlemann, Director of Horticulture at the Maymont Foundation in Richmond, spoke about using flowering shrubs to spice up our gardens.  Cherie Foster Colburn, a landscape designer and author from Houston, Texas, presented a program on how to create a garden to be enjoyed at night.  The final presenter, a man I am proud to call a friend, was Rev. Doug Seidel ... who spoke about the history and tradition of plants in cemeteries.

After the formal presentations, we went out into the cemetery (where it was WAY colder than the late March date would have suggested), and Doug walked through the Cemetery's rose collection and told stories of the various rose varieties growing there.  We were all totally captivated!

The roses won't be blooming until May, but the Hellebores were certainly putting on a beautiful show!

If you have been here for very long, you already know how much I love to spend time in cemeteries.  I adore a cemetery's peaceful atmosphere and the great love that exists among the stones. 

I love the simplicity and pattern of the simple head stones in the Confederate Section.  The rest of the cemetery has a wonderful variety of fencing and flowers and stones ... almost worthy of a sculpture museum!

This was my very favorite epitaph.  I think it applies to most of us ... don't you?

I hope to be back in Lynchburg on May 7, to help with the annual Antique Rose Festival and sale.

Later this week, I'll take you to see another one of Lynchburg's treasures.  Stay tuned.

(The photos in this post were taken with my new camera ... a Canon SD1300.  I'm still getting used to it.  Please forgive the weird colors.  I trusted the 'Auto White Balance' feature, and I shouldn't have because everything turned out a lovely shade of icy blue.  I did my best to correct it in Photo Shop, but they are all still a bit off.)


  1. The headstones all appear to be the same size and shape. Was this in a particular area of the cemetery? Usually there are diverse headstones. Just curious.


  2. I really thought about going, but I'd rather see the roses in bloom if I'm going to drive the distance. Early May (the festival) is even too early.

    Maybe Dawn Fields could coordinate the symposium with bloom time. I'm sure participation and attendance would increase.

    The cemetery is a magical place.

  3. These photos are all from the Confederate Section of the Cemetery ... I just added a couple of captions to the post itself to clarify this.

    Grouchy, dear, the Symposium was in May last year, and attendance was horrid. They moved it back to its original March date, and things were better.

  4. Yes, I remember....I was at Mottisfont Abbey during that time. I'll be there for the festival as long as you promise me blooms.

  5. Can't wait to see how the new camera works out! These shots are great, regardless.

  6. I love the brick wall! And I'm going to keep that epitaph for my own.

  7. oh wow, those hellebores are gorgeous! I wonder what varieties they are... they are one of my favorite plants! I have 11 so far, i think im addicted!

  8. Love your pink "Lenten roses"; do you know what variety it is?

    I know what you mean about beautiful and peaceful cemeteries… In my area, we have many small ones attached to old churches, and also family ones; little stone walled squares in the middle of a cornfield.

  9. Isnt it funny a cemetery can be such a lovely space to spend time. Ah bulbs! I miss those cheery yellow daffodils I remember from my grandmother's yard. All I can grow down here is a variety called Erlicheer, and its a creamy white, not that lovely spring yellow.

    I had thought of writing you an email to pick your brain on a couple of matters, is there an address I should use or is the one from your rose site the best way?


  10. Sounds like it was a lovely time! And so much greener than it is here. :)

  11. We too have a symposium at a local historic cemetery. It is such a beautiful place like what you have shown. The simple tombstones are so iconic.

  12. I, too, love spending time in old cemeteries and spent a whole vacation visiting them in Pennsylvania on the quest for family genealogy information. There were many with beautiful shrubs and trees. Those hellebores are just lovely. Sound like a great event.


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