Gardens of the Historic City Cemetery
Three gardens in the cemetery each bring color throughout the year.
All three gardens are tended to by volunteers.
Hamilton Square Perennial Garden
This one-acre site within the cemetery includes a variety of perennials suitable for gardens in Mediterranean climates. It is financially supported by the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club.
With the help of club members and donations from Target, perennials of many kinds were planted in the fall of 1998. Since that date, the garden’s list of suitable perennials has grown to over 400 species and varieties of perennials, roses, bulbs and grasses.
The garden remains a partnership between the SPPC, the Old City Cemetery Committee and the City of Sacramento. With annual contributions to the garden by the SPPC, plants are purchased to replace those which did not thrive and to try new introductions by nurseries.
Once a year in April, this garden is featured in the Historic Rose Garden’s Open Garden day at the cemetery. In addition, private tours can be arranged as well as tours open to the public of this special garden in a beautiful setting.
California Native Plant Demonstration Garden
Since January 1997, our goal is to show our visitors that California native plants can not only be drought tolerant, but that they are also beautiful and can be incorporated into the home landscape. When you visit the garden, you will see natives that can be used as lawn substitutes, attract wildlife and beneficial insects, have medicinal and cultural uses, and that are also edible. River-friendly natives and Arboretum All-Stars can also be found here.
The garden collection has over 150 species of native plants from numerous California regions. Some of our favorite natives include the early spring bloomers such as the Ray Hartman ceanothus and western redbud. Other stunning natives include the mid- to late-spring blooms of our sage collection, a variety of summer-blooming California fuchsias, our bee-attracting buckwheats, and our fall-blooming asters and goldenrods. Wildlife is always abundant in our garden and on any given day, you might catch sight of a red-breasted sapsucker, Anna's hummingbird, American goldfinch, dark-eyed juncos, black and gold carpenter bees, and numerous species of native solitary bees.
The California Native Plant Demonstration Garden is located in the southeast corner of the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery along Riverside Boulevard.
Historic Rose Garden
The Historic Rose Garden was established in the early 1990’s with a collection of some 50 roses and today includes some 500 old garden roses from a variety of sources and sites. The collection includes some unique roses, not found anywhere else.
Species roses - the collection includes several species roses, including those native to California.
Found roses - many roses with study names may be seen here. These are roses found on sites throughout California. Rose lovers discovered surviving roses in neglected and abandoned sites (pioneer cemeteries, old homesteads mining camps, etc.). Cuttings were taken (with permission, when available), the roses grown, identified (where possible) and planted in the cemetery. Many remain unidentified and may be unknown in modern times or perhaps "bird drops" or cuttings rooted from unknown roses back in the day. These are the roses with study names.
Historical roses - 19th and early 20th century cultivars known to have been available to early Sacramento residents from early nurseries.
Legacy roses - those planted by Cemetery plot owners; some even from the 19th century.
Modern roses - roses planted by plot owners which are not part of the collection plus a few planted as being appropriate. One example is Sutter's Gold from the 1950's which is planted on property originally donated to the City by the Sutter family.
The garden is worth a visit almost any time of the year - yes, even in winter - showing different aspects of these plants. Available space permits growing the roses without restricting size or shape. Of course, some shaping is necessary to avoid blocking headstones or paths, but for the most part, these roses grow to their potential just as they did when the Cemetery was originally established as a garden cemetery.