Adopt A Plot

GUEST POST BY  Daniel Holcombe,Grounds Conservation Manager, Historic Congressional Cemetery

About a month ago we started a new program here at the Congressional Cemetery.  Volunteers are stepping forward to “adopt” family plots by gardening and maintaining the plantings throughout the year.  Our new adopt-a-plot project will both restore part of Congressional’s historic landscape as well as enhance the overall beauty of the grounds.  The Cemetery was once called “gardenesque” by George Watterson, the third Librarian of Congress.  He described the Cemetery as a place that “the stranger as well as the citizen would feel a melancholy pleasure.”  This project is designed to replace some of the lost horticultural beauty of the Cemetery.

Volunteers will choose a family plot to maintain throughout the year, and with only a few exceptions, all family plots that use stone coping around their perimeters are up for adoption.  You are free to work whenever you would like and we will have tools, water, and mulch available for you.  We have a list available of suggested plants, including those historically appropriate as well as plants aimed at providing for our bees.

We have already had more than a dozen plots adopted, and a few have already been gardened.  The plots range in size from about ten square feet up to around five hundred.  Some are shaded, some are full sun; and our only rules are no vines, vegetables, invasives, or trees.  If you think you’d be interested in helping us with this project, please contact me at and feel free to look around for a plot you might want to adopt!


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