Have you ever wondered why lawns in cemeteries are so carefully manicured -- let alone why the graves are decorated with living flowers? In this season preceding Halloween, and especially on this day when in ancient Rome it was thought ghosts might walk the earth, it seemed fitting to read an article I had printed, but never read, on the burial customs of the Romans.
Heller ["Burial Customs of the Romans," by John L. Heller; The Classical Weekly (1932), pp.193-197] writes:
"Since the soul of the deceased was thought to need provisions for various wants in post mortem existence, the ground about the tomb was often laid out as a garden, where the spirit might wander and enjoy itself in its own bit of the Elysian Fields. This custom, of course, survives to-day in the decoration of tombs with flowers, although now we think of the flowers merely as decorations fitting to our sense of piety and our memory of the dead."