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David Beaulieu

Winter Cemetery Logs One Thing You Can Count On

By January 3, 2014

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I walk in a local cemetery quite frequently. picture of winter cemetery logNo, I'm not morbid: the cemetery just happens to be the closest thing to a park around where I live, so sometimes it simply has to do as the locale for my daily walk. Make fun if you like, but it's a place to stretch out the old legs.

Anyhow, while taking such a stroll, I pay attention to the decorations in front of the head stones. More specifically, the so-called "cemetery logs" and their composition catches my eye. I'm struck by what a constant said composition has been over the years.

You see, I've paid more attention during my lifetime than most to cemetery logs. Again, I must dismiss immediately any charge of morbidity that you may be hurling at me across cyberspace. There's a perfectly good explanation for my attentiveness in this matter.

For years, when I was a much younger man, I was in the nursery business, and I created winter cemetery logs for my customers. What struck me on my recent walk was just how little (if any) they have changed over the years.

The green industry (i.e., nurseries, landscape architecture firms, landscape maintenance businesses and the like) has changed a lot over the years. New cultivars are developed all the time in the plant world. The top bedding plant of one decade may yield that honor to another in the next. At some point, rounded foundation plantings became all the rage, and the older, rectangular type was looked down on in some circles as surely as hippies looked down on "squares" in the '60s.

But winter cemetery logs have changed nary a whisker. The rustic, bark-clad box still serves as the container. That box is still filled in with short evergreen boughs, as a backing. For ornamentation, people still insert cones, silk or plastic poinsettias, and the like. The whole ensemble is still capped off with a bow.

Some may be turned off by this constancy. Those who despise old things and are always on a quest for the new, the different, probably look down their noses at winter cemetery logs -- precisely because they seem never to change. They are the same folks who are disdainful toward geraniums in Memorial Day cemetery logs, feeling that they are trite.

But I have a different take on the issue. It seems that most everything is changing in the world around us. If the changes were always for the better, that would be one thing, but clearly that is not the case. So while they'll never be considered sexy, I rather like the fact that the look of winter cemetery logs is unchanging. It's one thing, at least, that you can count on.

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Photo ©2011 David Beaulieu, Landscaping Guide (licensed to About, Inc.)

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