Finding Inspiration in Cemeteries

Well, we've been back from Europe just a few days, and the experience is still sinking in. Though Paris and Berlin were both cool and rainy during our two weeks, spring seemed farther along than here in the American Midwest, and there was much lovely greenery all around us. Paris is more a town for gardens, and the influence of formal design is still apparent, though some of the newer parks are a bit wilder looking. An unlikely inspiration came when we visited Paris's two largest cemeteries, Pere Lachaise and Montparnasse, which are older and wilder looking than any local cemetery. Though fake flowers are as common, real plants decorate many of the graves.

I liked the miniature attempt at formality with this arrangement. I noticed that the French are very much into bordering beds with ivy, which has a tendency to obscure the center plants.

These pots were set on top of Charles Baudelaire's family tomb, where he is buried with his father, mother, and brother. I liked the arrangement of the brightly edged waxen leafed ivy with the fuzziness of the purple flowers.

I have no idea what sort of plant this is, but I assume it's a wild thing native to Europe. The leaves and flower are quite small and dainty, and the plant has a trailing habit that is very pretty. I love these sorts of plants, but I doubt it's something I can find in America. I especially worry it's invasive; French gardeners probably pull it out on sight.

A garden in the middle of Montparnasse:

The blue grape hyacinths were also in full bloom. One of my favorite bulbs. Not terribly exotic, but they have a simple unfettered charm I like. They look great when they've gone wild.

This plot looked untended, but I liked the messiness of it. I notice I best like plots that are slightly wild and overgrown. What pulls this together is the color scheme, based around the yellow/lime green/orange and violet/purple tones. It looks unplanned, but there is a logic to it.

This was not taken in a cemetery, rather the gardens at the Museum of the Middle Ages. I was surprised to find an iris in bloom. One of my favorite flowers. Even the everyday purple hues are good enough for me.

At Lachaise. I just like the layering of the composition, with grass at the foreground, the mix of shrubs in the middleground, and the tall evergreens flanking everything in the background. The basics of artistic composition at play.

I love the sword-shaped iris leaves peeking out of the soft, eroded stone, covered in moss.

Since I've been home, I've managed to transplant about 25 tomato seedlings to larger pots, and yesterday I planted carrots, spinach, and mesclun outside. Today, I plan on transplanting as many seedlings as I have pots for and planting more seeds inside. I will also have to plant the green onion seeds I forgot to plant yesterday. I also have the front and side flower/herb beds to bolster. I'm planning on getting some baptisia (false indigo) and heuchera (coral bells) for the front bed. And berry bushes for the back garden too!