Grants Awarded for Native Plantings in Consecration Dell

December 19, 2022

We are happy to announce that Mount Auburn has received two grants to support a sustainable planting project in Consecration Dell: $100,000 from the A.J. & M.D. Ruggiero Memorial Trust and $20,000 from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust.

The new landscape design features native New England woodland plantings in our historic Consecration Dell. This project brings more horticultural improvements to an area of the Cemetery that has been undergoing an ambitious series of transformations since 1997. At the heart of Mount Auburn’s historic core, the Dell is a 4.2-acre natural valley with a small vernal pool in its center. Thanks to years of restoration and extensive care, the area once again honors the earliest era of Mount Auburn’s history. It now features native trees, shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers that provide year-round horticultural interest, as well as essential food and shelter for resident and migratory wildlife. This entire initiative, perhaps more than any other, symbolizes our longtime commitment to pairing horticultural design with environmental sustainability.

In this newest project, we will install native woodland plants along the shady upper slopes of the Dell above Violet Path. The design will highlight woodland spring ephemeral species such as Sanguinaria canadensis, whose short-lived and delicate blooms coincide with the breeding season of the Cemetery’s resident Spotted Salamander population at the vernal pool below. As the summer season progresses, unfurling ferns, groundcovers, and leafy shrubs will provide a layering of vegetation to increase habitat for birds, insects, and mammals. These will include Lindera benzoin – one of two host plants to the Spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) caterpillars that have been found in nearby stands of Sassafras albidum. Additionally, the design will consider erosion control strategies and maintenance practices that will improve growing conditions for the new plantings.

If you’re interested in supporting native plants in Consecration Dell, donate here!

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