Spruce Knoll, Mount Auburn Cemetery

One of the famed historic garden cemetery’s most desirable burial spaces, Mount Auburn Cemetery's Spruce Knoll is loved for its natural and deeply reverential atmosphere. Amidst the cathedral-like spruces, visitors feel far removed from busy Mount Auburn Street nearby.

Located in the oldest part of the cemetery, Spruce Knoll was originally a grassy mound overtopped with mature spruce trees. Working closely with Mount Auburn staff, JMMDS transformed the knoll into what seems like a natural landscape quite different from the historic monuments around it. Pine-needle paths wind throughout the space, while artfully placed stones create memorable destinations. A large flat stone set in a clearing at the center of the mound allows small ceremonies to take place there.

Ashes are poured directly into groundcover beds. Shade-loving plantings include rhododendron and andromeda, perennials, and groundcovers. Most memorialization is decentralized from burials and occurs on stone tablets that encircle the foot of the mound.

LOCATION: Cambridge, MA

Staff of Mount Auburn Cemetery
Thomas Paine, Landscape Architect
Donald B. Curran Inc., Landscape Contractors
Capizzi and Company, Landscape Contractors
Richard Duca, Sculpture Designer at Willow Knoll


Susan Teare