In 1891, the first year of Fairmount’s development, renowned landscape architect Reinhard Schuetze established more than 4,000 saplings, 100 large trees, 220 evergreens, 200 vines and creepers, nearly 2,000 shrubs, 380 roses and 585 herbaceous plants for a total of almost 7,500 plantings.
Today, Schuetze’s grand vision is as vibrant as ever—Fairmount remains Colorado’s largest arboretum. Designated a wildlife viewing area by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Fairmount is home to deer and numerous other mammals, as well as diverse species of birds, including hawks, owls and Golden Eagles.
The Trees and Arboretum at Fairmount
Founded in 1890, Fairmount Cemetery was the largest developed landscape west of the Mississippi at the time. Designed by landscape architect Reinhardt Schuetze, Fairmount was planned to resemble a park; quite the challenge in this high plains desert which averages just 15 inches of precipitation or less a year.
Schuetze worked and lived at Fairmount until 1894, when the City of Denver hired him to develop the Denver parks system, including Denver’s Washington and Cheesman Parks. He was also commissioned in 1895 to design the Colorado State Capitol grounds.
In 2013 the Fairmount Heritage Foundation began a tree survey at Fairmount, recording species, size, and location. Through a generous grant from the Colorado Tree Coalition, we have labeled the trees surveyed which you can view below.
Today, Fairmount Cemetery boasts Colorado’s largest arboretum, both in acreage and number of significant plants, home to numerous Notable and Champion Trees, as well as one of the largest known collections of Old Garden Roses in North America.
Fairmount cemeteries is one of the largest arboretums in the state of Colorado. You will find a wide variety of trees on our grounds. Plan your visit today or find more information by contacting 303-399-0692. To see the variety of trees at Fairmount click here.
Fairmount Cemetery Heirloom Roses
Throughout history, no flower has been so loved or celebrated as the rose. Rosaceae is older than the human hands that first cared for it, drew pictures of it, and sang its praises in music. Forty million years ago, a rose left its imprint on a slate deposit at the Florissant Fossil Beds in Colorado. Today, Fairmount Cemetery is home to one of the largest known collections of “Old Garden Roses” in North America. Some have been identified such as Ghislaine de Féligonde, still, others, known as “Mystery Roses”, have been assigned study names. A study name is always listed in quotation marks and usually includes the name on the monument closest to the rose along with the most predominant characteristics such as “Emmons Pink Damask”.
Fairmount Rose Garden Gazebo
Richard H Shay and his wife Virginia donated the White Gazebo that graces the Heritage Rose Garden on the grounds of the cemetery.
How did so many unique roses end up at Fairmount?
We know that Reinhardt Schuetze, the landscape architect that designed Fairmount, planted “380 roses-all kinds” according to the original nursery order from 1891. But we can only speculate as to how so many other roses found their way here. The settlers were known to bring cuttings of their favorite plants, stuck into potatoes to protect and keep them moist during the long trip across the Great Plains. Settlers brought these roses to the cemetery to plant at the graves of their loved ones.
Preservation of the Fairmount Roses
Since so many of our roses are unique to Fairmount they must be preserved or will be lost forever. The Fairmount Heritage Foundation is currently developing a preservation plan for the roses; efforts include a full survey of the roses including labeling, propagation and planting plan as well as an expansion of the current demonstration garden. The Fairmount Arboretum is open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day of the year; there are roses throughout the cemetery and in our Heritage Rose Garden located in Block 85.
Click here to learn more about Old Garden Roses.