JOURNEY JOURNAL... Durham, North Carolina
The multi-variant expanse of the fifty-five-acre Sarah P. Duke Gardens on the campus of Duke University has been an acclaimed attraction for many years. However, many folks may not know about the two-acre memorial garden that is a part of it. Here, for a substantial contribution ($25,000) designated for an endowment fund to maintain the school’s botanical treasure, Duke alumni, others affiliated with the university, and local community members can have their cremated remains either buried or scattered.
The decedent’s name and birth date are inscribed on one of about 700 limestone markers that delineate a winding pathway in this section of the garden that features azaleas, camellias, and other plants that thrive in shade. Each burial site is in close proximity to the correlating stone.
A Duke garden employee (a supervisor or curator) typically handles the burial, placing either uncontained remains or a biodegradable urn in a hole that has been dug as close to a flower or bush as possible. This may take place during a memorial service on site, while another staff member assures privacy and the avoidance of intrusion by garden visitors. A trolley transports guests for whom walking is difficult.
Photos from the “Memorial Garden” page of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens website