First Annual Cradle Grave Picnic

First Annual Cradle Grave Picnic at Mount Hope Cemetery

Our three-year-old cradle grave program – featuring 123 gardeners maintaining 225 cradle graves – had its first social function on Sunday, September 12th. What a wonderful day! It resembled a giant family reunion – a get together of so many of our gardeners who previously were just names on our emails!

This picnic was highlighted by a lovely lunch compliments of Wegman’s, a consistent supporter of the FOMH.  This gave us all time to meet each other and talk flowers, deer, groundhogs – we have all been yearning for this interaction ever since our cradle grave program began in 2019.

Many of our gardeners had not been in our gatehouse before, so they were amazed at its beauty and interested in its history. 

First Annual Cradle Grave Picnic at Mount Hope Cemetery

After the eating segment of our picnic, Robbie Dreeson, chair of the committee, led us on a tour of nearby cradle graves. Viewing the amazing gardens of our peers was so valuable. We had many questions – inquiries that could be answered by the other gardeners. It was indeed a useful learning experience for all of us.

A stop at KC Fahy-Harvick‘s cradle graves included a talk on plants.  KC has conducted research on what perennials worked in her cradle graves, and her presentation led to lots of questions and interaction. 

We proceeded south to visit a series of inspiring creative cradle graves – small gardens that have transformed Mount Hope Cemetery. One stop was our first cradle grave originally planted by Marie and Richard Leistman. They are the pioneers of our program, having planted and cherished the Ihrig gravesite for many years before we even started our formal program. They were our inspiration – and we were so gratified to celebrate them at this gravesite – the site of our beginnings.

Our 2021 expansion of this initiative is thanks to the leadership and dedication of Robbie Dreeson. This program has become a full-time job for Robbie, who is constantly in search of hidden cradle graves that can be uncovered, repaired, and adopted. Her committee, made up of Tom Jones, Tony Filer, David Krotz and Chris Petote, helps dig out these graves, and determine how much work needs to be done to make them safe and available for adoption. If the cradle grave is in bad shape, our restoration person, Bill Yager, will bring his team to repair the cradle grave and the attached gravestone as well. This professional repair is supported by funds from FOMH donors as well as a grant from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation.

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