'Do people eat tomatoes?' An 86-year-old is skeptical whether the many tomatoes growing on a grave in the Matzleinsdorfer Friedhof in Vienna are really appetizing. Cemetery administrator Walter Pois calms her down. There is at least a meter of soil between the fruit and the coffin or what is left of it. Pois has come up with an idea to use at least some of the 1,500 graves that are no longer cared for by relatives. The Evangelical Cemetery rents out around two and a half square meters of a grave area for 75 euros a year to anyone who doesn't mind being close to the dead when it comes to urban gardening.
He started doing this a few years ago, says the 51-year-old master gardener. First of all, employees took the opportunity to plant potatoes, onions, kohlrabi or tomatoes on the side. Meanwhile, 20 graves resemble a mini vegetable garden. 'Demand is increasing,' says Pois. He thinks it's nice when it's not only cultivated for harvest purposes, but also when flowers decorate the area. One of the grave sites is a sea of flowers that is completely free of vegetables.There are also used books at the Vienna Cemetery. picture: dpa/Matthias Röder
The cemetery with 8,600 graves - among others, the German poet Friedrich Hebbel and the actress Adele Sandrock rest on it - is one of the smallest in the Austrian capital. When it comes to innovation, however, he wants to be a leader, says Pois. This year, five tombstones were redesigned as public book places, and three more are to follow. The borrowable literature should invite you to linger and also expand the meaning of a visit to the cemetery. 'The cemetery should not only be a place of mourning, but also of rest and relaxation,' says Pois.Source: watson.de