Leafy additions next for cemetery
Quincy Valley’s resting place is about to become more restful. A landscape planting plan that has been five years in the making will become a reality over the next three Saturdays, as volunteers prepare the soil and plant hundreds of trees and bushes.
Cemetery District No. 1, which runs the large cemetery in Quincy – so visible on F Street SW – approved a plan for perimeter plantings as part of a long series of improvements in recent years at the public cemetery. Mike Scharbach, the chairman of Cemetery District No. 1, said last week that everything for the project had been ordered.
It is a large project, including 100 trees and 270 shrubs, including ornamental grasses. The design shows a pattern of colorful trees – cherry, pear and maple – on the west and east sides and 10 larger maples across the northern side, forming a visual screen. In between the trees will be hundreds of shrubs alongside the new fence.
“It is going to be amazing,” said Robin Prchal, owner of Emerald Desert Nursery, who has long been involved in the project.
The project is planned for the next three Saturdays, and lots of people are needed. Two troops of Boy Scouts and FFA members are expected, said Carl Yeates, a farmer/orchardist who is leading the charge on the project. Quincy Rotary Club members will be there, and other clubs and church service groups are welcome also.
“We want to invite the community to come out and help,” Yeates said. “We welcome whoever would like to come and join in.”
On April 7, the ground work includes a plan to cut four feet of sod out along the east side and north side, opening up a planting strip. That will make a lot of sod available on Saturday for anyone who wants to haul it and use it.
How it started
Looking back recently, Yeates said the cemetery project started five years ago when he was president of the local Rotary Club, and he wondered what he could do to make the cemetery more beautiful.
“The whole thing that got me thinking was it’s in a very prominent place in our community and yet it lacks appeal,” he said.
He contacted, Frank Kirkbride, a Quincy High School graduate, to do a conceptual drawing showing trees in the cemetery. For Yeates, trees would give a little more pleasing effect when visitors are at the cemetery meditating.
The Rotary Club took it on as a project, ideas surfaced and more people in the valley became interested in beautifying the cemetery.
Then a couple of years ago, a series of physical improvements at the formerly utilitarian cemetery began with the removal of old arborvitae on the west side. The district had a bid for $10,000 for the removal, Yeates said, but he and fellow Rotarians offered to remove the dying arborvitae at no cost. This cleared the way for the next steps.
The city of Quincy had to put in water drainage, pavement, gutter and curbing on the west side, effectively widening Seventh Street SW and creating lots of parking spaces. Then a concrete sidewalk and a perimeter fence were installed by the district. Those steps were completed last year.
Yeates said many people have helped, including the city government, and he named Evan Landin and Rotary Club presidents who have kept the ball rolling.
“Over all this time people in the community have been patient,” he said.
He said he will be really happy when the project is done, though it will take time away from his farm and orchard work, but the cemetery means a lot to him. He has family buried there. Prchal also has family there.
“It is very exciting and it is going to be a really great addition to that part of town,” Prchal said.
Volunteers have a lot of work ahead of them. Every tree will have two stakes and a poly chain lock, Prchal said. The trees are “1 ½-inch caliper,” which refers to the thickness of the trunk. They are sturdy “but not so big that our wonderful volunteers can’t handle them,” she said.
Her choices of plantings include color changes through the seasons, texture and movement. The buckthorn and grasses will sway in the wind.
She said she chose the feathery grass for its height, color and movement, and it does very well.
“I think it gives some very unique interest in the design,” she said. “It’s really pretty.”
How is this paid for?
The Quincy Rotary Club is paying for the bulk of the plantings, which is estimated to cost between $17,000 and $18,000. Yeates said the cemetery district is also ready to cover further costs.
Prchal volunteered her time for the design, and she is giving a wholesale rate for the trees.
“Gosh, they are beautiful trees,” Yeates said. “When it goes in it will look nice, and in five years’ time, it’s going to be pretty impressive.”
The watercolor (above) was done by Aleen Hyer, showing the cemetery as envisioned with grown trees. Hyer knew Yeates from the days she was an art teacher at Quincy High School, and then Yeates hosted her wedding in his backyard. He commissioned her to do the watercolor for this project.
The watercoloring also shows a pavilion – a structure that is not there but has been proposed also by Rotary. Philip Lust has designed the structure, and Rotary is still committed to that improvement project, too, Yeates said.
“We are going to do that next,” he said.
Volunteers are needed to work on ground preparation at Quincy Valley Cemetery on Saturday, April 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All are welcome – bring your gloves, shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows. A weed barrier will be laid out. On April 14, trees and shrubs will be planted, and the work will continue on April 21.
What will be planted
Autumn Blaze Maple, noted for orange-red fall foliage, to 50 feet.
Apollo Maple, noted for yellow to red fall foliage, to 30 feet.
Kwanzan Cherry, noted for double pink blossoms and bronze-orange fall foliage, to 30 feet.
Chanticleer Pear, noted for white spring blossoms and reddish fall foliage, to 40 feet.
Blue Arrow Juniper, noted as an evergreen screen, up to 15 feet high.
Fine Line Buckthorn, noted for fern-like foliage that turns yellow, up to 7 feet.
Karl Foerster Grass, noted for feathery, colorful stalks, to 6 feet tall.
By Dave Burgess, email@example.com