Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends A Landscape of Remembrance and Reflection - Page 11

sweet auburn | 2020 volume i are embedded in hillsides, under trees, along paths, and free-standing. Like the people that will be remembered, no two stones are alike. Varied in size, some are lichen- or moss-covered while others have streaks of color, interesting geologic folds, or distinct silhouettes. Arranged in tumbles or individually, they offer the illusion of having been dropped in place by receding glaciers. Other ways to be memorialized at Hazel Path include inscriptions on ten tall granite monuments (three were installed with the project) and new granite steps that were added between the Fuller obelisks to make them feel part of the overall composition and to improve general circulation. Blending Hazel Path with its context was just as important as making it a place of beauty and enjoyment. Shade and sun meadows at Mountain Avenue (for shade: Sedge, Wood Fern, Prairie Dropseed; for sun: Poppy Mallow, Bluebell, Sedge, Goldenrod) complement the mature meadow at the base of Washington Tower. Myrtle Path, the corridor leading to Hazel Path but also an important route for maintenance vehicles, was kept wide but its borders are now densely packed with plants and boulders. Uphill from Myrtle is a sunny, steep slope shared with Hazel Path, where some of the woodland plants spill over and then subtly transition to sun-tolerant species. Fast-growing Fragrant Sumac, Japanese Plum, and Pepperbush will quickly help to stabilize the hillside. The base of the slope is lined with American Hop Hornbeam shade trees, which will someday make a light canopy over Myrtle Path. The design wouldn’t feel complete without a respectable showing of its namesake plants from the Hazel family, Hamamelidaceae. Ten types of Hazel shrubs are clustered along the length of Hazel Path, making a spectacular display of flowers on winter’s bare branches, when least expected but most dearly needed. From January through mid-April, the yellow-gold-rusty pink flowers of Winter Hazel (glabrescens and spicata), Witch Hazel (Ozark, Arnold Promise, Pallida, and Jelena), and Hazelnut (American, Beaked) bloom and spread a citrus-like fragrance that infuses the chilly air. These Hazel selections were made to please year-round, but particularly on a visit between mid-February and mid-March, when overlapping bloom times are at their peak and the low sunangle intensifies the frilly flowers. Fall-blooming Common Witch Hazel helps round out the growing season on the other end, appearing from mid-October to mid-November. Although Hazel Path has a specific purpose, it is also a functioning ecology, meaning that it will change and adapt over time as plants and soils develop, and weather, light, and water shift. This process will rightfully be guided and tweaked by the extraordinary horticultural staff that care for the Cemetery and whose presence is felt in the sustained beauty of the grounds. Smartly, the Cemetery gives them a voice in the design, and I have confidence that they will respect and improve upon the long-term vision for the project. It will be fascinating to watch. 9