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It blooms and twittering: Varelers bring life to the cemetery

Varel Asters and phlox bloom in competition, with Marie-Luise Reiners and Heidrun Bleß planting small perennials in between. The Varel women make the cemetery bloom. It is not only the cemetery gardeners who ensure that the cemetery is alive, but also committed citizens. They support the change in the cemetery away from the traditional grave-by-grave arrangement towards a park with a variety of burial forms.

Walk in the cemetery

"60 percent of burials are now urn burials," says cemetery gardener Enno Juilfs, "many traditional family graves are being given up". This creates free areas that are mostly replaced by lawns. Or through the perennials from Marie Luise Reiners and Heidrun Bleß

Perennials instead of lawn

First and foremost, the perennials, most of which come from Marie Luise Reiners' garden, serve as food for the insects. "We want to counteract the monoculture", says Heidrun Bleß, chairwoman of the cemetery committee of the evangelical parish.

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The garden friend advocates a mixture of seasonal planting and hardy perennials on the graves. "It looks nice and the insects benefit too," she says. When asked why the women are so involved, the answer is unanimous: "We feel connected to our beautiful landscape cemetery."

They are looking for support. Anyone interested in getting involved, planting and weeding shrub beds or looking after the historical graves, can contact Marie Luise Reiners, Tel. 04451/5234.

Prickly rarities

Hans-Georg Buchtmann also feels connected to the Vareler Friedhof and has been supplying it with rarities for years. Buchtmann is one of the leading Ilex experts in Europe and has a unique collection of more than 400 Ilex species and varieties.

He recently donated 35 Ilex plants to the Vareler Friedhof and has announced further donations for next year. The rarities enhance the botanical value of the cemetery, says Enno Juilfs happily.

60 nesting aids

Biodiversity prevails not only between the graves, but also above them. Years ago, schoolchildren built and installed 60 nesting aids under the motto “Living Cemetery”. In many hours of work this summer, Egon Schröder from the cemetery committee and Martin Heinze from the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (Nabu) repaired and cleaned defective boxes, mapped them and expanded the nest box park. The two men attached wren balls especially for the wren.

They have created apartments for tawny owls and rough-footed owls, stock doves, jackdaws, treecreepers, starlings, robins and many other birds so that the polyphonic concert of birds will continue to accompany visitors to the Varel cemetery in the future.