Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
Peralta, New Mexico, USA

Philly's Friends
About the Cemetery

Philly's Friends is the gardening group (dedicated to St Philomena) formed under the guidance of the parish cemetery committee. Members of the group continue to improve the cemetery's landscaping, as well as learning more about plants and gardening. A cemetery directory is also in development.

Philly's Friends has been working on the cemetery landscaping project since 2003. The descriptions below summarize what has been done each year.


The cemetery landscaping project by Philly's Friends has begun. The first trees were planted as the beginning of the landscaping and windbreak on the cemetery's west side on Saturday, July 12, 2003. The area next to the cemetery's westernmost row of graves was leveled the night before by Elias Maez of Maez Drilling, who also provided a group of boulders to protect the newly-planted trees by blocking vehicle access to this area. The trees were planted by Philly's Friends including Moises Candelaria, Phil King, Ivan Silva, and Orlando Cable.

After holding a seminar on drip irrigation systems, we started installing the PVC pipe for one portion of our drip irrigation system on August 2, 2003. Matt Salazar and Ivan Silva worked hard on this installation. Moises Candelaria, Phil King, and Ivan Silva worked with us to get the anti-siphon unit, drip control box, watering timers (donated by Ewing Irrigation), valves, and primary lines connected and working two weeks later. Moises Candelaria and members of the Vargas family worked hard to plant the Russian sage and lavender plants on August 23, finishing the planting work we’ve done so far. More work was done in September and October making initial preparations for the walkway in this first landscape area.

More activity took place in November. Philly's Friends Moises Candelaria, Ivan Silva, David Sanchez, and Orlando Cable, with Confirmation candidate volunteers, did a huge amount of work alongside the cemetery access road. First the area was cleared of weeds, rocks, and trash. Then the entire area was covered with a bark mulch previously donated to the cemetery.

The Philly's Friends workshops are supported by the Valencia County Extension Office and County Extension Officer Frank Holguin, and by members of the Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners organization.


Philly's Friends was largely inactive in 2004, due to its leader's injury, but expects to be active again in 2005.


The cemetery landscaping project by Philly's Friends is back in “high gear.” After maintenance tasks were completed, work got under way on this year’s major improvements.

The primary mulching process has begun in the landscaped area next to the westernmost row of graves in the cemetery’s “current section”, working uphill from the south end of the area. Thick layers of newspapers, bark, and wood mulch are being laid down over the planted area to suppress weed growth and retain moisture for the plants. Iris plants are being added, too, to increase the cemetery’s natural spring flowers. Philly's Friends Janet Vigil, Elsie Otero, and Elsie’s granddaughter Rosalind, have been helping with the planting and mulching of the “river of iris.”

Another big part of the landscaping effort got under way at the end of July. Philly's Friends David Sanchez, Tony Gallegos, and Moises Candelaria joined us to lay railroad ties along the edge of the walkway bordering the planted area. About half that task was completed on July 30th; the other half on August 6th. It looks great! We added to that by setting the benches two weeks later. These additions have really made the area look nice! Stop by and see for yourselves.


— current year in progress —
see the current cemetery page

We are looking into the records on the Peralta-Valencia cemetery and the churchyard at the Sangre de Cristo church. These cemeteries, the Tomé cemetery, and perhaps others and have served our communities since the late eighteenth century. According to documentation on burials in our cemetery collected and edited by parishioners Oswald and Mary Ann Baca, burials began in this cemetery in 1793.

An Aerial View of the Peralta-Valencia Cemetery As Seen From The West (February 2003)
The area being landscaped is outlined in red.

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Last updated November 26, 2006