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Restoring an Historic Cemetery

 

December 14, 2021

Shreveport Garden Study Club Celebrates Two Major Gifts

For more than twenty-five years, the Shreveport Garden Study Club (SGSC) has partnered with the city of Shreveport, Louisiana, to restore the Greenwood Cemetery, established in 1892, to its original beauty as one of the first great cemetery parks in the South. Last November, the club gathered in celebration of two major gifts pledged toward the restoration of this historic cemetery.

The first gift was a generous donation from a longtime Shreveport family designated for the construction of an entry pavilion to the Pollinator Garden. The garden, created in response to a 2016 GCA call to tackle the serious problem of dying bees across the nation, now attracts bees and butterflies galore, includes twenty-seven varieties of native plants, and is an ideal setting for conservation and horticulture workshops for both children and adults. Plans are currently underway for a special series of programs to be held in the Pollinator Garden the week of April 26, 2022, in honor of the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, founder of American landscape architecture and creator of the first public parks.

The second gift was a donation of property adjacent to the Pollinator Garden from the Independent Order for Odd Fellows (IOOF), Neith Lodge #21. A non-political, non-sectarian fraternal order of men and women, the IOOF seeks to “improve and elevate the character of mankind and to make their community and the world a better place.” Through the sale of forty burial plots in the thirty-by-forty-foot section of land, their donation will enable the creation of a trust for the maintenance and enhancement of the cemetery. 

Over the years, SGSC has invested more than $1,000,000 in garden development, restoration of monuments and the gatehouse, creation of pathways, and the addition of memorial benches. Over 100 native trees such as Live Oak and Sweet Bay Magnolia have been planted to replace dead ones, and thousands of annuals and perennials add color to the landscape throughout the year. With most of the master plan projects completed, fundraising has started for the final phase — the addition of a sensory garden in Babyland, the final resting place for unidentified babies and children. Once completed, the master plan for this historic seventy-two acre cemetery’s pathways, benches, and beautiful tree canopy will provide a place of comfort and renewal for decades to come.

 
 

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