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Floral Rules and Regulations

​Victorian Style
Symbolism and the Language of Flowers

Mount Olivet’s grounds are made up of thousands of individual lots, each belonging to or shared among individual families. Though little more than cleared farmland in the beginning, hedges were installed to delineate property lines and 300 young trees were quickly planted to break the heat of the summer sun. Today some of these surviving saplings are towering giants that pay homage to all who have passed beneath them.

Families continued developing their lots, primarily through planting flowers.  Vintage photographs from the turn of the century show the refinement that had occurred. Walls, fountains and ornate iron fences had been added to grace the gardens.

Nellie May Burrier's grave (1886-1909) is adorned with a floral relief sculpture. (Area OO lot 61)

Nellie May Burrier's grave (1886-1909) is adorned with a floral relief sculpture. (Area OO lot 61)

The Victorian period brought with it a fascination with the natural world, and a keen interest in plants was an integral part of this passion. Plant collectors explored remote parts of the world to bring back new and exotic specimens.  It became quite fashionable to decorate your home with exotic, often tropical, plants. So, why not your cemetery? Mount Olivet's first greenhouse was built in 1868 to grow flowers for the cemetery but it was also used to overwinter these tender plants.

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1909 view of the Superintendent's house showing a number of potted plants such as ferns and palm.

Many plants and flowers were symbolic to the Victorians, either through their ‘language of flowers’ or religious beliefs. Lilies, symbolizing resurrection, weeping willows for sorrow and palm fronds to indicate triumph of the soul are frequently seen on grave markers.  You will often see these plants growing nearby. The many Victorian  era books on the ‘Language of Flowers’ gave meaning to each flower and a bouquet could be used to send a private message telling of one’s love, or hate. Such bouquets can also be seen carved on the stones.

You're welcome to use a wide variety of floral decorations in Mount Olivet Cemetery. However, flower and ground cover planting on lots requires lot owners (or legal representatives) to fill out a permit which lists all guidelines to be followed in order for planting to be done.

Live Plants
  • Please talk to our Office Staff for completion of Planting Permit (Permit for Planting Annual Plants).

  • Planting must contain annual flowers or plants only, no perennials or shrubs/evergreen are permitted.

  • The planting bed must be kept within the guidelines as indicated on the Permit for Planting Annual Plants.

  • The planting must be maintained by the lot owner at their time and expense. If the planting becomes unsightly or out of keeping with the beauty of the cemetery, the planting will be removed.

  • No live flowers or plants are allowed in the mausoleum buildings. This rule furthers efforts to protect floors of the buildings, along with controlling insects. Any live flowers or plants found inside will be removed without notice.

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Artificial Flowers or Designs 
  • No artificial flowers or designs that are placed on the ground will be permitted from May 1-December 1. Artificial or silk flowers will be permitted if placed atop a monument or are placed in vases attached to the base of the monument.

  • Placement of artificial or silk flowers in hanging baskets from shepherd's hooks is allowed, but  provided that only one be placed per each grave site and are placed at the side of the monument and in line with the monument. Where only footstones or flat markers are allowed, a hanging basket can be placed on a shepherd's hook provided the hook is placed at the side in the center of the width of the footstone or marker.

  • All artificial flowers or designs that are placed on the ground will be removed by cemetery employees  on or after May 1.

  • In the mausoleums, artificial or silk flowers are only allowed in the vases that are attached to bronze markers. They cannot extend beyond the individual crypt or niche front onto an adjoining crypt or niche front that obstructs another marker.

  • All live flowers from funeral services must be placed in a designated area located outside the mausoleum.

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Special Occasion Decorations 
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  • All Christmas decorations or designs must be removed by March 1. After an on March 1, the employees will remove and dispose of said decorations.

  • Urns or vases are permitted only on those areas where allowed and must be maintained in appearance. Urns and vases are permitted on all sections from Areas "EE", "AA" and "LL" to the north. Click here to see a map showing these areas.

  • Remembrance lights , solar or any other such items for illumination are allowed provided they are placed as close to the base of the monument as possible with only one allowed per monument, headstone, footstone or marker.

  • Flag holders for veteran or any such type of item used to display flags are allowed provided they are placed as close to the base of the monument as possible with only one allowed for each monument, marker or footstone. Only one such holder of any type per burial is allowed.

  • The cemetery reserves the right, at all times, to remove any planting, flower, artificial flower or design, vase or urn, window box, potted plant, shepherd's hook, remembrance light, flag holder or any such items that have become unsightly or not in keeping with the general plan of beautification.

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Whatever the season, Mount Olivet Cemetery is the perfect backdrop to our busy calendar of events. Take your pick from a variety of options spanning all interests. There’s always something new to experience at Mount Olivet Cemetery.