During the past year, Philadelphia has been beset by the dual public health crises of Covid 19 and gun violence. Burial Ground Bouquets is the response of three individuals with vastly different backgrounds who have come together to support our grieving communities. Lisa Klinman is a victim advocate with the city of Philadelphia, who works directly with family members who have lost loved ones to gun violence and works to support them during their grieving processes.
Ask Nicely, of The Puzzlement Laboratory, is a horticulturalist and artist working out of the Friends South Western Burial Ground in Upper Darby. Ask Nicely has been growing flax there as a part of their Death Shroud Project for the past two years and has been working with other stakeholders to further develop the burial grounds gardens and expand outreach and connection between the gardens and the bereaved community members.
Phoebe Finch is an artist and grower of flowers, who works with plants as medicine and grows herbs for local Philadelphia herbalists. We would like to create a cut flower garden on the grounds of the cemetery in order to provide fresh, sustainable, locally produced floral bouquets to mourners who visit. Many in our community are unable to afford expensive bouquets from florists and mourners and end up purchasing plastic flowers, which Burial Grounds keepers later have to throw away.
The Burial Grounds are a Quaker institution that date back to 1860 and recently decided to offer space specifically for Muslim burials for the surrounding community. Burials jumped from 6 per year to over 300, and in 2020 alone there were around 340 burials, the vast majority of them individuals whose death resulted from gun violence. We view the cut flower garden as our offering in support of community healing.
Funded by Philadelphia, PA (May 2021)