This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The horse rail road at Augusta, Ga., has a fitting termination at the cemetery of the town. Getting out of the car here and looking toward the enclosure before me, I queried of the white driver whether all religious denominations buried together, within the same fence ? He said, " all but the colored, who occupy an adjoining square beyond the next street." After passing through a section of the cemetery of the pale faces, I crossed the street to that in which the colored people bury; the existence of which probably dates back to the days of slavery. This ground was even greener than the first, with Euonymus, the perennial-leaved mock orange, Prunus Caro-linianus, and the live oak, Quercus virens.
Many of the graves here were covered with bits of fine pottery, broken vases and shells, broken plaster ceiling ornaments, broken water pitchers, broken oil lamps and lamp chimneys, and in one instance a fractured molasses pitcher. This last might have been intended to sweeten the way of some poor soul heavenward, and probably something of that kind in this especial instance may have been needed.
As emblems, these fragments of damaged china ware, etc., were certainly very appropriate, though I fancy no emblematic meaning was attached to them; they covered the raised mound simply to distinguish it more clearly from the unhallowed earth around it.
On returning toward the gate, and when near the lodge of the keeper of the yard, who bears the name of Ebenezer Copper, I noticed what appeared to be a mammoth vegetable of a yellow gray color, the length of which was probably eighteen inches and the breadth and thickness twelve inches. It might have been an immense ruta-baga or sweet potato, but it was neither, though it had existed like them until discovered beneath the ground. The keeper told me that he had found it just under the surface when removing the earth for a new grave. The root to which it was attached was two or three inches thick, the excrescence being below, and just above the point of junction of the two, strong saplings or suckers had grown and had reached considerable size.
The real owner of the root and its strange attachment was a large sized paper mulberry, which grew at least a hundred feet distant from it. The trunk of a paper mulberry without wart-like protuberances is an uncommon sight, though the fact that the root also produced such was to me quite a revelation.
Mr. Copper, the keeper of the graveyard, also informed me that over the river on the rich bottomlands of the Savannah, Broussonetia papyre-fera may be found in a wild state; its method of increase being as stated above by greatly elongated roots and shoots therefrom. I did not test this statement, though from the manner in which it was made I judge it to be perfectly correct.