Cemeteries

Courtesy of CemSites

On today's program: Medical marijuana will soon be used to treat anxiety, but not as a first resort; a local activist pushes shopping local during Amazon Prime Day; WESA explores the impact of crime and incarceration on Homewood; how a Perryopolis startup is modernizing cemetery management and commerce; and a new documentary weighs in on how humans interact with nature. 

Grave Gardeners: Volunteers Help Spiff Up Old Cemeteries

May 22, 2019
Jacqueline Larma / AP

The cemeteries of yore existed as much for the living as for the dead. People would picnic and relax there as they would in a park today.

Now, a handful of 19th century graveyards are restoring the bygone tradition of cemetery gardening, enlisting volunteers to help keep things green and tidy.

Amy Lambert, for instance, volunteers at The Woodlands, a cemetery near her apartment in Philadelphia. She had been looking for a way to garden after she moved out of an Austin, Texas, house with a lush backyard.

Photo by William D. Wade

The old phrase “whistling past graveyards” suggests how our culture has traditionally viewed the grounds where we bury our dead: as places of mourning, or even dread, to be avoided for as long as one can manage.