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The trees of Elmwood

February 26, 2010

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Spring is coming.  The weather may be cold outside but signs of spring are appearing daily at Elmwood.  The daffodils have started to poke through the soil and in the next few weeks, the pink and white blooms of the Saucer Magnolias will dot the landscape.  Spring is a beautiful time at Elmwood, thanks in part to the many different varieties of trees planted on the grounds. 

The name Elmwood conjures up images of a park-like setting, sweeping vistas and majestic shade trees.  The name was actually drawn from a hat, and while the cemetery stockholders were said to be pleased with the name, they quickly placed an order for some elm trees to be sent from New York to be planted among the existing trees.  Samuel Phillips, who was superintendent from 1866-1878, is credited with choosing and planting many of the trees on the grounds.  For many years, the trees were left to grow on their own, but in 1995, the Board of Trustees recognized the need to maintain the existing trees and expand the collection. Hundreds of trees were personally planted by Trustee Carlisle S. Page and in recognition of his efforts, the grounds were designated as an arboretum named in his honor. 

Today, Elmwood is home to over 1500 trees and the collection is still growing.  Through the Plant-a-Memory program, Elmwood encourages families to plant hardwood and ornamental trees in memory of their loved ones interred here.  Our goal is to increase the variety of specimens on the property and apply for Level 3 Arboretum certification from the State of Tennessee. 

There are plenty of ways you can help us preserve the trees at Elmwood.  In April, the cemetery hosts the Arbor Day 5K which raises funds for tree maintenance.  A tree is planted on the grounds each year in honor of the winner.  If you are interested in learning more about the trees, we offer guided tours of the Arboretum twice a year.  The next tour is in May, when the spring color display should be in full bloom.  And if you just want to drive around the cemetery on your own, the grounds are open every day from 8:00 am-4:30 pm.      

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