Monday, March 8, 2010

abandoned cemetery jonquils

I had noticed these jonquils for a year or two before I saw the headstones set in the underbrush off Chapel Hill Road last month. Based on what little research I've done since, it belongs to the city of Durham;  like many other abandoned burial grounds there are no families or funding sources to keep it maintained. There are dozens if not hundreds of other parcels like this all over the city and county. Another unclaimed cemetery sits less than a mile away at the intersection of Prince Street and Chapel Hill Road. I have not been over there to poke around the brush yet.

The North Carolina Cemetery census lists an Anderson-Grouduph family cemetery at a location very close to this one. When I have time and a GPS handheld, I'd love to double check the coordinates. Last  Friday, I was mesmerized by the stone carved dates (some from the eighteenth century) that silently mark a plot within sight of a city bus-stop. I could see less than half a dozen markers in the woods but I  am sure there a more under the ivy. At least one grave was marked by just a rock. For all I know, each of these could have been a humble memorial to those who lived a life enslaved.

These jonquils are similar to the kinds of everblooming clumps you might find all over the South if you know where to look: abandoned dooryards, family graveyards, ancient fields, and historic homes.  Even though a lot of folks use the terms jonquil and daffodil interchangeably, they are not the same bulb. But they are both members of the narcissus family. If you go to Lowe's and Home Depot to buy spring blooming bulbs next September, you will not find the old fashioned narcissus bulbs that your great grandparents handed around. You are better off shopping these wesites: Southern Bulb Company, Old House Gardens, and Brent and Becky's Bulbs. Unlike the burial grounds where they were often planted,  N. jonqullla can still thrive in neglect.

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