A major component of the cemetery’s sustainability initiatives is to create landscapes that support local wildlife such as insects, and birds.
Native plants, as opposed to exotic, non-native plants evolved with our native wildlife and this makes them much more palatable to the native fauna.
Our native wildlife require the native plants in order to survive, in particular our migratory birds.
96 percent of our birds rely on protein rich caterpillars to feed their young.
The migratory birds find caterpillars on one of our more than one thousand majestic native oaks, (Quercus), while squirrels and chipmunks seek out the basswood, (Tillia species) for its seeds.
The peeling bark of our river birches, (Betula nigra), tucked in along Custis Walk and surrounding Columbarium Court 9 provides lots of hiding places for over-wintering insects, and in turn provides fuel for hungry woodpeckers late in the season. Those river birch beds along Custis Walk are also filled with milkweed plants, (Asclepias species). The leaves of the milkweed plants provide crucial food for the Monarch larvae. The flowers of Asclepias provide nectar for moths, and hummingbirds as wells as other butterflies.
Native plants offer their own special kind of beauty.
Native plants connect our visitors to nature.