Category: Landscape

Willow Pond Rain Garden

December 20, 2016

The Willow Pond Rain Garden was designed to slow the velocity of storm water input into the pond; capture harmful, nutrient rich sediment; and protect water quality. During rain events, the captured water slowly rises and flows over a stone weir before entering a bio-filtration pool inside of the pond. Installed in 2016, the Rain Garden has also improved habitat for amphibians, reptiles, birds, and invertebrates.


The Rejuvenation of Harvard Hill

August 8, 2016

HH center SA

Over the past two years, Mount Auburn Cemetery and Harvard University have collaborated to rejuvenate the area known as “Harvard Hill” in the historic core of the Cemetery. Located just below Washington Tower, the lot has sweeping views to Cambridge and Boston and overlooks Consecration Dell.

2012 Harvard Hill post 330The story really begins in 1833, two years after Mount Auburn’s founding, when Lot 330 was purchased by physician and philanthropist George Shattuck and gifted to Harvard College. Many of the earliest burials in Lot 330 were young faculty members and students who died far from home, as in those days neither funerary technology nor transportation methods allowed for the deceased to be transported back to their hometowns for burial. As embalming became a common practice and long-distance travel became easier, burials in the Harvard lot declined and for many decades the area received only basic care of trees, shrubs, and monuments. However, in the meantime, many landscape improvements have been completed by Mount Auburn’s horticultural staff in the surrounding area, including the restoration of the native woodland in Consecration Dell and the establishment of a wildflower meadow at Washington Tower. (more…)

The Beech/Central Avenues Corridor

August 8, 2016

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Good landscape design weighs the different functional and aesthetic variables in play, whether the challenge is an historic landscape or a rooftop garden. Mount Auburn’s stewardship of its historic landscape relies on a careful mix of guidelines, policies, and strategic initiatives. It also utilizes archival reports and correspondence held by our Historical Collections Department. Occasionally, something more is called for. A recent project to renovate the “Beech/Central Avenues Corridor” illustrates the kind of extra steps we sometimes take in the design process. (more…)

Wildflower Meadow at Washington Tower

September 1, 2014


… Flowers on the hillside

blooming crazy

-Bob Dylan

Echinacea purpurea

Dylan’s words are an apt description, for mid-summer days, at our wildflower meadow at Washington Tower.  This wildflower meadow was established in 2007, at this prominent, one-acre location, and includes a wide range of native shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses. Here is a brief sampling of some of the August blooming flowers, for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and you to enjoy.  Purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is a popular, long-lasting, daisy-like, flower. The center disk of each flower actually holds a composite of florets, surrounded by reflexed to drooping ray flowers, often a purplish- pink color The genus name is derived from the Greek word echino, for sea urchin, alluding to the spiny, conical, central disk. These are favorite flowers of butterflies, bees, and other insects, and its seeds are eaten by goldfinches, and other species of birds. (more…)