South Jersey Catholic Cemeteries is delighted to announce the expansion of the Garden Permit Program to a yearlong program. Paul Martin, Director of Cemeteries, states, “In an effort to be more flexible and provide greater service we have extended the Garden Permit to be a yearlong program!” What does this mean? First, the garden edging border that outlines three quarters of the headstone will remain throughout the year allowing families to place keepsake items and plant flowers within the garden. Second, South Jersey Catholic Cemeteries eliminated the requirement for families to remove any keepsake items from this bordered area. Prior to this change, the deadline had been October 1.
“The Garden Permit Program begins every year on March 21, with the start of spring and previously had ended October 1st with the onset of autumn. With this improvement, our families are able to express and share their memories throughout the year,” Martin explains. Gardening is a nurturing and productive pastime activity that helps to heal the soul and feed the heart. Research shows that digging in the earth’s soil is soothing, comforting and peaceful, especially for those grieving the loss of a loved one.
Martin shares, “Since the announcement just a couple of weeks ago, families have already expressed their delight with this change.” Rosemary Alvino cares for her father’s grave regularly at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Vineland. Rosemary expresses, “I am over joyed and appreciative about the expansion to a yearlong program for the Garden Permit Program. Being a farmer’s daughter, I enjoy seeing life and color with the different seasons of the year. I am so happy that I do not have to pull the flowers until they are ready to die off!”
Even with this change to a yearlong program, the yearly fee will remain at $35. The Garden Permit Program allows for the planting of flowers in front of monument markers giving family members the ability to care for the final resting place of their loved one(s). These gardens are permitted under controlled circumstances and only where the spacing of the monuments allows for access of equipment.
Families are permitted to plant annuals and place objects within the boundary of the installed border throughout the year. The permit holder is responsible for caring for the flowers within the border including removal at the end of the growing season. South Jersey Catholic Cemeteries reserves the right to trim or remove flowers that become unsightly or cascade over the border. Families must still respect the sacred environment by refraining from placing anything that may be offensive to Catholic teachings.
A Garden Permit Application must be completed in order to participate in the 2022 program. Families may request an application by calling their cemetery office, or by downloading an application from SouthJerseyCatholicCemeteries.org. Completed applications along with the appropriate fee may be mailed to or dropped off at the cemetery office. The deadline to participate is March 15, 2022.