Last Sunday, I participated in a field trip to the municipal cemetery in Bochum-Weitmar („Städtischer Friedhof Bochum Weitmar“) in Bochum, West Germany.
1) The Cemetery
As a municipal cemetery, the plant is operated and maintained by the City of Bochum and not by a religious community (in contrast to the catholic cemetery of Bochum Weitmar, which is right next door and operated by the St. Francis community).
As with the field trip in the last year to the cemetery in Herne, the focus was on the different species and sorts of conifers and evergreen plants. Because they are evergreen, such plant are very popular ornamental plants for cemeteries, because they symbolize eternal life and immortality, what is an refer to the immortality of the soul. However, as I mentioned before, evergreen plants aren't really “evergreen”, within the meaning of that they never lose any leaves. This plants also lose their leaves but not all at once like the seasonal green plants.
the cemetery - note the open, park-like landscape
As cemetery plants, the conifers and evergreen shrubs must meet certain requirements. One of them is the size, because plants on graves may not exceed a maximum size, witch is determined by the city (the exception are trees, which are planted by the city itself). Another requirement is the shape. On a cemetery, leaves with hanging branches, needles or leaves are preferred, because they symbolize mourning and tears.
2) Haus Weitmar
As a kind of expansion, the field trip also made a short detour to the grounds of Haus Weitmar. Haus Weitmar is a very popular location in Bochum. These are the remains of a medieval mansion, which was build in 1592 by the nobleman Johann von Hasenkamp. Before that, there were only some small houses, which were built in 1464, and an old chapel (the so called “Sylvesterkapelle), which was build in 1397 and is located in the north of the manor.
Both Chapel and manor were built with sandstone, which was brought from the near river Ruhr.
Haus Weitmar and its grounds belong to the family von Hasenkamp for nearly 300 year. After the last von Hasenkamp passed away, Haus Weitmar was bought by the family von Berswordt, which are also the owners today.
During the Second World War, the area around the manor was hit by an allied bombing raid at May 13rd, 1943. The bombs destroyed the manor and the chapel almost completely and only some walls remained. To avoid a collapse, a modern art building was built in 1968 within the ruins, which stabilize the cracked walls. Today, this buildings hosts art exhibitions and a small cafe.
Schloss Weitmar - the grounds
The grounds around Haus Weitmar were later leased by the City of Bochum, which makes them public for visitors. A special feature of Haus Weitmar are the different species of rare and exotic trees and shrubs, which were planted by the owners. One of these trees were a dwarf beech (a sort of Fagus sylvatica, “Süntelbuche” in German), which was the oldest tree of Bochum until it was destroyed by a fire in 2000. At this time, the tree was over 300 Years old.
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana - habitus
Chamaecyparis obtusa - habitus
the ventral site of leaves from C. lawsoniana...
... and C. obtusa
Chameyparis pisifera: Sort "filifere aurea"...
... and "squarossa Boulevard"
Cupressus arizonica - Arizona cypress
Metasequoia glyptostroboides - bald in the winter
Sequoiadendron giganteum - giant red wood
Thuja occidentalis: habitus...
... and the ventral site of the leaves
Thujopsis dolabrata - habitus
Tsuga canadensis - Canadian Hemlock
Cedrus atlantica "glauca"
Araucaria araucaria - Araucariaceae
Picea omorica - Serbian spruce
Pseudotsuga menzisii - Douglasie
Erica arborea - tree heath
Ilex cornuta from Japan
Erica carnea - winter heath
Parrotia persica - persian ironwood