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Island Cemetery Newport


Island Cemetery Newport


The Arboretum at Island Cemetery Newport is an inspiring landscape that connects old with new, and the living with the deceased. Over the last few years, the cemetery has addressed needs to rehabilitate both the plant materials and numerous structures in the landscape. Many new trees have been planted on the grounds, representing cultivated varieties that are best suited for long term survival. Old hedges have been cut back, and many strangling and overgrown vines have been removed. Trees in poor condition have been removed, with the thought of using this created space for new planting opportunities.

The restoration of the Belmont Chapel has been a massive rehabilitation success that should be noted. The chapel, constructed in 1886, was designed by architect George Champlin Mason, who is buried at the cemetery. A beautiful pre-modern gothic structure that represents an intriguing time in Newport’s history, the chapel stands prominently and is visible from almost all locations within the cemetery.

The grounds of the cemetery are home to many notable woody plants. Several old yews can be found on the grounds, including 12 fastigiate English yews (Taxus bacata ‘Fastigiata’, some of which are the finest in all of Rhode Island. Old columnar Arborvitaes (Thuja occidentalis ‘Columnaris’) are highly amusing with their splaying habit, an old school plant that can’t be enjoyed in many other places. The landscape is dotted with many tightly pruned evergreen azalea bushes, mainly Rhododendron xobtusum ‘Amoenum’, which brighten the grounds in early May. A beautiful common horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) flowers right around Memorial Day to let everyone know summer is on its way. A newly created path is lined with young stewartias (Stewartia psuedocamellia), which only increase in beauty with each passing week and month.


Accredited Arboretum Level I image
30 Warner Street, Newport, Rhode Island 02840, United States,
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