By Bob Beausoleil
Anyone who travels on First Avenue past the East Greenwich Cemetery is treated every autumn to a spectacular foliage display by the ancient sugar maple trees that glow in glorious yellows, oranges and reds. These giants likely date to the early days of the cemetery. Like all living things, though, these trees will eventually age out and will need to be replaced.
Enter Danny Moone, manager and caretaker of the cemetery, who proactively requested advice from the East Greenwich Tree Council, which for several years has been planting trees on public spaces and along streets in town to increase the tree canopy coverage. The council developed a planting plan of recommended mostly native trees and locations for them within the cemetery. As a result, next spring, passersby along the wall on First Avenue will be treated to some new flowering tree species. Closest to the brick maintenance buildings at the entrance is a native eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis
) which will be covered with unique pink flowers all along the bare branches. On the other side of the steps(recently revealed with the removal of overgrown shrubs) is a Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa
), a small to medium sized tree covered with white or pink bracts
in late spring. Next to that is a Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha
) which has camellia-like flowers in late summer. A short segment away is a native eastern dogwood (Cornus florida
), another spring flowering small tree that produces red berries in the fall. In the far corner is a beautiful native sugar maple (Acer saccharum
) which will in time rival its ancient relatives in the older sections of the cemetery. And last, but not least, on the curve to the right upon entering the cemetery, is a black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica
) which puts on a scarlet fall foliage display.
An unexpected bonus in the form of three crab apple trees came the cemetery’s way recently when these trees, which were planted several years ago in front of the East Greenwich Police Department headquarters, needed to be removed to make way for a new police memorial being developed. The trees were hand dug by some very hard working employees of New Leaf Landscaping, which is creating the new memorial, and transported by bobcat to their new homes selected by Mr. Moone within the cemetery. There is every hope they will survive the move and thrive, providing even more color in the old cemetery next spring.
Maple trees have graced EG Cemetery for many decades. Credit: Bob Beausoleil
Bob Beausoleil is a member of the EG Tree Council.
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This is a delightful and informative description of how East Greenwich beautification occurs. Who would know that there is a Tree Council? Also how fortunate EG is to have knowledgeable volunteers to make sure the correct tree is located in the best place.
It’s nice to see new trees being planted. As the article sorta implies, many, if not most of our trees are old and dying a slow death. When Henry Russell (1829-1904) planted all the trees in what is now Goddard Park, (there were no trees there prior to the Civil War), he routinely removed weak or sickly trees immediately and new trees were planted. In his lifetime, Goddard Park became a nationally-recognized arboretum. Unfortunately, there has been little interest in maintaining Goddard’s forests or any other trees in this area. Planting new trees is a great idea but also some trees have to come down. Every storm, trees come down, taking the power lines with them. On property I was tending recently, three large old oaks fell over on their own, felled by age, disease, ants, and just plain moist soil at their base. Planting trees is a voluntary effort, removing them is not: it is costly and requires professional efforts.
It’s nice E.G. Cemetery has room for a few new trees. Sadly, the other 90 historical cemeteries in town are beset with aging and sick trees that have to come down before they fall and destroy the gravestones they have protected so long. The town takes no responsibility for historical cemeteries and therefore it falls to those who purchase lands having cemeteries on them. Morally, new people to town should not be responsible for the failings of the town to tend to these historical cemeteries in an orderly manner. Because of this, the town’s historical cemetery commission is trying to set up a perpetual care fund to take care of this task. It is seeded with a small financial base but we need someone to do the paperwork to make this a viable and legal fund that can accept deductible donations to provide funds for cemetery maintenance. For more information on this proposal, contact me through EG News, who can forward any correspondence.
It’s a shame the beautiful Tulip tree I donated died before it was planted!
Thank you…already looking forward to spring!
Thank you so much to the tree council for your work. Your work matters and I hope it is something that continues. Our town needs to be planting new trees as the big trees seem to be coming down at an alarming rate. I appreciate what you guys are doing!
Danny Moone has done an outstanding job of taking care of EG Cemetery since he took over. Thank you Dan!
Thank you so much for all your hard work! The trees add such a peaceful atmosphere to the cemetery. I go by it every day and look forward the seeing those wonderful trees bloom next spring.
Thank you to the EG Tree Council for its hard work! Their efforts to add beauty and balance to the town’s public spaces will be appreciated for generations to come. This well-written, descriptive article by Mr. Beausoleil makes it possible to envision what a walk along First Avenue in the shade of these newly-planted trees will be like in the future.