Recently, I participated in a new Field Trip; this time to the “Südfriedhof” (literally “southern cemetery”) of Herne, a small town in Western Germany. This field trip was planned and carried out by the “Botanischer Verein Bochum” (Botanical Society of Bochum). For further information, check out their homepage (use google, because I don't know if deeplinking is allowed). The main focus of the field trip was upon the evergreen plants. So, in this Post, I want to present you some evergreen species, which we've found on the area of the cemetery. But first, it's time for a little bit history.
1. The Southern Cemetery of Herne
This cemetery is located in the South of Herne in Western Germany. It was founded in the year of 1905 by the city council, which bought an uncultivated area at the “Wiescherstraße”; a road which connects the small town with the town of Bochum in the south. Before the founding, the dead were buried on smaller cemeteries and, until 1850, in the neighborhood of the town church.
a fountain at the cemetery
Over the centuries, the area was extended multiple times. The first expansion was in the year of 1908 0,5 ha. Other expansions happened in the years of 1920/21 (3,5 and 12 ha), 1930 – 1932 (3,5 ha) or 1990 (20 ha). So today, the whole cemetery hat a total area of 34 ha, which makes it to the biggest cemetery of Herne.
view at the cemetery
The “Südfriedhof” is the final resting places of many people, who have made outstanding contributions to the Town of Herne or play a major role in its history. The most of them were businessmen, who founded major factories or productions plants in Herne, that brought prosperity to the town. Of course, many of this companies have something to do with mining, because Herne is part of the “Ruhrgebiet”, one of the former major areas of mining in Germany. But also many local politicians are buried here.
the left part of the chapel
Beside this, there are also some honorary graves on the cemetery. One of them is dedicated for the dead soldiers of both World Wars, while another is for the civilians, which were killed during allied bombing raids. There is also honorary graves for foreign victims of World War II. The most of them were Soviets and Poles. They were Prisoners of War, who were abducted by the Germans in order to work as forced labors in the factories and mines.
Graves of the forced labors
Other interesting places are the two memorials for the victims of two mining disasters and the memorial of demonstrators, who were killed at at demonstrations against a coup attempt (Kapp-Putsch) in the year of 1920.
Another very touching place is a burial ground “Pusteblume” (dandelion) for preemies and miscarriages.
In the center of the “Südfriedhof” stands the chapel, which was completed in 1909 and is built in the style of Neoclassicism.
2. Evergreen Plants on the Cemetery
Evergreen species are very popular for cemeteries, because in many mythologies evergreen symbolized also eternal life. However, this species are not really “evergreen”, because they also loose their leaves but not in such a big number as abscissional plants and new leaves replace the old ones also over the whole year. A true evergreen plant is Weltwitischia mirabilis Hook. F.; an indigenous plant of Namibia, which produce only two leaves in its long life.
Many of these evergreens on cemeteries have also hanging leaves or branches, because this is a symbol for mourning. Since the cemetery is also a park, the planting should not be too high.
Because of this, cemeteries plants are often small, scrub-like conifers or special breeding of the wild forms.
3. List of Species
|Rhododendron catawbiense Michx.||Ericaceae|
|Skimmia reevesiana Fortune||Rutaceae|
|Skimmia japonica Thunb.||Rutaceae|
|Taxus baccata L.||Taxaceae|
|Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (A. Murr.) Parl||Cupressaceae|
|Chamaecyparis obtusa Endl.||Cupressaceae|
|Chamaecyparis pisifera Endl.||Cupressaceae|
|Juniperus chinensis L.||Cupressaceae|
|Abies pocera Rehd.||Pinaceae|
|Thuja occidentalis L.||Cupressaceae|
|Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco||Cupressaceae|
|Microbiota decussata Kom.||Cupressaceae|
|Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carriere||Pinaceae|
|Picea glauca var. Albertiana (Moench.) Voss.||Pinaceae|
|Aucubua japonica Thunb.||Garryaceae|
|Juniperus squamata D. Don||Cupressaceae|
|Picea pungens Engelm.||Pinaceae|
|Abies koreana E. H. Wilson||Pinaceae|
|Pinus mugo Turra||Pinaceae|
|Pachysandra terminalis Sieb. Et Zucc.||Buxaceae|
|Picea omorika (Pankc.) Purk.||Pinaceae|
|Ilex crenata Thunb.||Aquifoliacae|
|Osmanthus heterophyllus (G. Don) P. S. Green||Oleaceae|
|Pieris japonica (Thunb.) D. Don||Ericaceae|
|Picea parviflora Sieb. & Zucc.||Pinaceae|
|Cedrus atlantica endl- Manetti||Pinaceae|
|Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.||Pinaceae|
|Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw.||Cupressaceae|
|Xanthocyparis nootkatensis D. Don, Farjo et Harder||Cupressaceae|
|Picea wallichiana Jacks.||Pinaceae|
|Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu & Cheng||Cupressaceae|
|Pinus nigra J. F. Arnold||Pinaceae|
Chamaecyparis obtusa - variety "nana gracilis"
Chamaecyparis lawsoninana - white sort
Chamaecyparis lawsoninana - green sort
Cupressus macrocarpa - sort "Goldcrest"
Chamaecyparis pisifera - Sub-Clade "Filifera"
Chamaecyparis pisifera - Sub-Clade "Squarrosa"; "Boulevard" Variety
Juniperus squamata - "Blue Star" Sort
Cedrus atlantica - "Glauca" Variety
Pinus omorica - a glacial relict
Taxus baccata - male plant with male cones
Osmanthus heterophyllus - "Goshiki" Sort