Commonwealth War Graves horticulture survey

Gravestones in Ypres Town Commonwealth War Gra...

The kind of scenery that makes the CWGC famous (Image via Wikipedia)

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission are once again asking for the public’s views on the horticulture of their Cemeteries.

Despite stating that there are no pre-conceived agendas, the questions in the survey are very leading. Namely, how would you feel about their being less flowers and shrubs, grass that isn’t green or isn’t mown so regularly, or no grass at all?

It points in two directions for me – one, a desire to cut costs. This is kind of understandable in the current economic climate, but surely there are better ways of cutting deficits than cheapening war cemeteries? Secondly, the CWGC has in recent years had a climate change agenda that it can’t seem to let go of. Try as they might – and they have – gravel in war cemeteries looks bloody awful. It’s a cemetery, not a car park.

If you want to protect that traditional CWGC cemetery – commonly regarded as the most moving and well-kept war cemeteries in the world – follow the link below:



Filed under Remembrance, Uncategorized, World War One, World War Two

90 responses to “Commonwealth War Graves horticulture survey

  1. johncerickson

    I could see main paths done in crushed stone or (far more preferably) concrete. I suppose I could be talked into less adornment a la shrubbery and such.
    If they want to save costs, they need to look for volunteer labour. I would GLADLY tend a small part of a cemetery for free (or at least for costs in materials like fuel for mowers, etc.) – provided I actually lived near one – and I’m sure there would be plenty of folk like me who would be willing to give of their time. I’ve been trying to find the owners of a nearby civilian cemetery to offer my grounds keeping efforts, as they have a number of servicemen’s graves dating back to our Civil War, but haven’t been able to find the owners’ names yet.
    Maybe this could be Cameron’s “mandatory public service” he spoke of earlier today? I think it’d make a nice follow-up for any arrested rioters, following the cleanup of the areas they trashed, of course.

  2. James Daly

    I could see paths in crushed stone, probably a bit more hard wearing than grass. Especially in some of the busier cemeteries. I don’t think I would notice if they had one or two less shrubs either.

    It seems like the CWGC consult on this every year, with the same results. Yet someone there obviously has a cuts/climate change agenda and just won’t leave it alone. Last year they ran a pilot in a couple of cemeteries trialling different grass and gravels and things. The one that they completely covered in gravel looked awful – like a car park.

    • johncerickson

      You need grass in the areas of the graves. They could try some varieties that are hardier and need less tending (I’ve got a weed-variety of grass in my lawn that threatens to fight back when I mow!). Some US parking lots at corporate parks have gone so far as to collect the rain runoff from the pavement, and trap it for use in watering the grass. There are a number of “green” methodologies they need to look at.
      But leave the grass over the graves. I don’t want to kneel on stones or concrete when paying respects. We owe the vets that much.

  3. johncerickson

    Off-topic, as is my norm – from’s Morning Briefing: “ALBERT “DOC” BROWN, the oldest survivor of the Bataan Death March, died Sunday at 105 in a nursing home in Nashville, Ill. “Brown was nearly 40 in 1942 when he endured the … harrowing 65-mile trek in which 78,000 prisoners of war were forced to walk from Bataan province near Manila, Philippines, to a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. As many as 11,000 died along the way. Many were denied food, water and medical care, and those who stumbled or fell during the scorching journey through Philippine jungles were stabbed, shot or beheaded. But Dr. Brown survived and secretly documented it all, using a nub of a pencil to scrawl details into a tiny tablet he concealed in the lining of his canvas bag. He often wondered why captives so much younger and stronger perished, while he went on.”
    A notable man, covering an infamous story. And WW2 takes one more step from memory to lore.

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