From Whence They Came

Ina shared with me that the beautiful Asters spilling over the Cottage Garden section of the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden are actually second generation from the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery. I have lived a stone’s throw from the cemetery for years, but it took a plant scouting trip to finally inspire me to visit. I can’t believe what I have missed.

The Sacramento City Cemetery was established in 1849 with a donation of 10 acres by Captain John Sutter. It follows the Victorian Garden style, and is the final resting place of more than 25,000 pioneers, immigrants, their families and descendants. Among the first interments were over 600 victims of the 1850 Cholera Epidemic.

Today, the cemetery covers 44 acres. The grounds are maintained by more than 100 volunteer gardeners, and a small army of the Sheriff’s friends doing a little community service. An Adopt a Plot program was instituted to help restore and preserve the grounds. This is the structure that finally got our Memorial Garden moving forward. Pride of ownership inspires commitment.

There is a lengthy list of approved and forbidden plants – which allows for variety while ensuring consistency across the acres. The Historic Rose Garden section is also home to some of California’s most noteworthy roses. Unfortunately, most of these were no longer in bloom during my visit – but the perennials more than made up for it.

The Perennial Garden in Hamilton Square was my first destination, and it did not disappoint. The Asters were quickly spotted. They dotted the landscape, overflowing their confines –

including this striking White Aster.

Sages surrounded touching groupings of family stones –

Butterfly bushes grew as large as trees –

and beautiful combinations of foliage and color.

There are many varieties of Sage,


and even Cactus – unusual for these parts.

The deep yellow Rudbekia reaches skyward,

and compliments the blue Plumbago.

But the perennials and plantings are not limited to certain sections. They are carried throughout – turning a short trip into a long stay. I imagine this stone beautifully enveloped in Geraniums must belong to a one-time gardener.

In every corner there is a different find. Ajania Pacifica…

fragrant Lavender…

still blooming Coneflower…

blazing orange Lantana…

and this well-behaved Morning Glory.

Not sure what these mystery plants are…perhaps you can help:

On my way out I stopped to talk with and compliment four of the volunteer gardeners. “You should see it in spring,” they said. I will definitely be back.