I’m sort of a cemetery perv–I love visiting them and taking photographs, even though graveyard photos are so cliche. And if you have access to a big public cemetery, it can be a great place to learn about trees and horticulture, because often the specimens are labeled.
So if you’re not spooked out by cemeteries and have time to stroll around and look at the labels, it’s a great way to hone your identification skills.
These photos were taken recently at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence. Established in 1846, Swan Point lies on about 200 acres between Blackstone Boulevard on Providence’s East Side and the Seekonk River.
Swan Point is the resting place of many notable Rhode Islanders, including statesmen, civil war veterans, and most famously, HP Lovecraft, the horror/fantasy writer and native son of Providence whose headstone is inscribed “I AM PROVIDENCE,” after a line from one of his letters.
The cemetery has some pretty amazing trees. Some of them are so huge that they must have been planted right when Swan Point was established, or maybe they were there already. Eastern cottonwoods, weeping hemlocks, sugar maples, red pines…there is one European beech that is huge with a trunk that looks like a giant elephant’s leg.
There are a few access points to the Seekonk and it’s quite beautiful. You have to walk down to get to the river and for some reason this is the spookiest part of the cemetery to me. I never linger because I feel like I’m intruding on the view of those that have the privilege of a final rest by the river.
Anyway, if you’re local, hope you have the chance to check it out. Don’t discount a winter visit if you’re interested in winter tree identification!