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  • Mark Coyne

Last Week in the Cemetery (Week of August 15)

Posted August 22 2022 by M.S. Coyne

A correction from last week’s post. It was ‘Henry’ King who was one of the three individuals involved in purchasing the first four acres of the cemetery.

Last week in the Cemetery saw a welcome reprieve from the HEAT and HUMIDITY.

Some landscaping work took place in African Cemetery No. 2 most days of the week. Tuesday, we started to trim back the viny overgrowth that has taken over the fence on the Chestnut Street side. This will be a long-term project. The first step was trimming the vines to within a foot of the fence. Later, we’ll clear individual sections of the fence that the vines that have grown on, over, and through.

The fence line is approximately 200 yards long, which means clearing the fence line generates a tremendous amount of landscaping debris. Fortunately, Wednesday morning we were joined by the Health Sciences Living and Learning Community at UK (IHRC) which arrived en masse to mulch, haul debris, and clean markers of individuals in the cemetery who had connections to health care. Thanks to their hard work, about half of the fence line is trimmed and debris free.

Thursday an arborist from Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc. made a site visit to provide estimates for removing trees and downed branches. In particular, a Bradford Pear at the entrance to the cemetery is

starting to lose limbs, and is perilously close to power lines serving 7th St. Two White Mulberries (Morus alba) in the center garden are also slated for removal because they are obstructing the growth of a Red Maple (Acer rubrum), which makes a much better shade tree. The White Mulberries are not native to Kentucky, but were imported to help develop the silk industry. Don’t worry. We are preserving at least one White Mulberry in the center garden as a specimen tree.

One of the down logs (from a Northern Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis) was unsuitable for further milling because it was rotten at its core (which explains why it snapped off the tree in the first place). Saturday the log was sectioned into a series of smaller pieces for easier transport. Nature is a marvelous thing and slices of the log showed the most amazing patterns. If you have an

artistic bent, these short logs have a lot of potential. They are in the back of Section F Until we move them to our landscaping pile with the rest of the wood.

We are also trying a new landscaping and preservation experiment. Some of our markers are both separated from their base and fragmented. To keep them together and above ground so they don’t become further dispersed, fragmented, or vanish beneath the sod we are making small 2” x 4” frames filled with solid material (wood chips for now) to support the fragments. The frames will make the markers easier to see and (cross fingers) easy to avoid during mowing.

Put Saturday, August 27 on your calendar. Trees Lexington will be giving a tree pruning workshop in the cemetery from 9-11 AM.

Remember that if you or your group would like to contribute a few hours of service maintaining African Cemetery No. 2, please contact Mark Coyne at to plan a visit.

As always, feel free to visit African Cemetery No. 2 any time.

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