Horticulture & Wildlife Guide

“A lovely and intelligent child,
born in Lynchburg,
has unknowingly provided a phrase apt for the
subject of this book’s content.
Her name for a cemetery is ‘grave garden.’
The old City Cemetery is just that,
especially in flood time of spring and when
autumn brings its glory to the sugar maples.”

From Philip Lightfoot Scruggs’s Introduction to
Behind the Old Brick Wall: A Cemetery Story

A Garden Cemetery

The Old City Cemetery, with its unpretentious beauty and peace and its panoramic views of the inner city reaching to the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, has been a source of solace and solitude for generations. Established in 1806 on land given by the city’s founder John Lynch, its great variety of monuments commemorate both the famous and the now-forgotten.

There is history also in the horticultural landscape. Planting grandmother’s favorite rose on her grave, or the seedling of the oak from the old homeplace were common practices and also provided an historic record of period plantings. The survival of many of the trees and shrubs is testimony to their hardiness and, literally, to their enduring qualities.

The recent replanting of the Old City Cemetery to include only plants which would have been growing there over 100 years ago, is an effort to maintain the integrity of the historic landmark, and to enhance its historical, horticultural, and educational value for the enjoyment of its citizens.

Care of the Old City Cemetery

Routine care and maintenance of the Old City Cemetery are the shared responsibility of the City of Lynchburg, the Southern Memorial Association, and the cemetery neighborhood.

The “scythed” effect of seldom cut grass is an authentic characteristic of a 19th-century cemetery appearance, created here by the restraints of a 21st-century public works department budget!

The services of garden volunteers are appreciated and encouraged.


Continue with…

Cycle of Bloom
Roses
Earley Memorial Shrub Garden
Antique Daffodil Collection
Butterflies
Medicinal Herbs
Birds
Trees
Duval Holt Orchard


“Leaves have their time to fall,
And Flowers to wither at the North wind’s breath,
And Stars to set—but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own O Death.”

“We know when Moons shall wane,
When Summer birds from far shall cross the Sea,
When Autumn’s hue shall tinge the Golden Grains,
But who shall teach us when to look for thee?”

Inscription from the tombstone of
James William Morgan
1803–1847
Buried Old City Cemetery

“So fades the lovely blooming flower,
Frail smiling solace of an hour,
So soon our transient comforts fly
And pleasure only blooms to die.”

Inscription from the tombstone of
William Percy Morgan
1829–1833
Buried Old City Cemetery

“A rose and rosebud half blown
Late flourished near this ground.
A while they bright and lovely shown
And shed their fragrance ’round.
The scythe cut down these flowers fair,
To earth too briefly given.
Though here they fade, their sweetness rare
Exhaled, ascends to heaven.”

Inscription from the tombstone of
Maria Ball Carter Tucker, 1784–1823,
Great-niece of George Washington,
and her daughter,
Rosalie Tucker, 1804–1818.
Buried Old City Cemetery

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Contact Info

401 Taylor Street
Lynchburg, Virginia 24501

Office: (434) 847-1465
Fax: (434) 856-2004

occ@gravegarden.org
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