With gardeners and horticultural experts working in 154
countries, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is one of the
world's leading horticultural organisations, with an enviable track
record of innovation and expertise. More than half of the
1,750 acres of ground under the Commission's control is given over
to fine horticulture, making maintenance a year-round task for our
Working closely with the architectural teams, the horticultural
department has, since the beginning, played a major part in the
look and feel of our cemeteries. Variety in texture, height
and timing of floral display are important considerations.
Each headstone border is planted with a mixture of floribunda roses
and herbaceous perennials. Low-growing plants are chosen for
areas immediately in front of headstones, ensuring that
inscriptions are not obscured and preventing soil from splashing
back during rain.
The horticulturalists go to great lengths to ensure that the
right plants for the right cemetery are carefully managed and
nurtured. This might mean bringing seeds from Nepal to use in
the Gurkha cemeteries or Maples from Canada for Dieppe.
Horticulture is about much more than such sensitivities.
The feeling of the cemeteries, described by Sir Frederic Kenyon in
1918 as having to have the general appearance of a British cemetery
with flowers, borders and paths, is as important today as it was 95
years ago. Our cemeteries are living places and our gardeners
are proud of their work, which they maintain to the highest
Efficiency and innovation has always been key to the
Commission's way of thinking and much of what we use in our gardens
today was developed between manufacturers and the Commission's
horticultural teams to speed up such work as mowing, edging,
composting, tree and hedge-trimming and irrigation.
95 years of gardening
Information on our repairs
programme and how that might affect your visit