Friday, November 02, 2012

No artificial flowers allowed …

Driving home today I noticed a new sign on a local cemetery that states “no artificial flowers”. It struck a sour note with me and I couldn‘t help but ponder on it.

Look at the two floral pictures above. Which would you like to have flanking your loved ones grave ? The beautiful white rose is made of silk whereas the dead and drooping arrangement is the real thing. It sounds like they are implying that the artificial flowers are less than classy (and, by implication, so are the people who put them there), but is that always the case?

In 2001 I was fortunate to have spent a day in the seacoast town of Portovenere, Italy. It was there that I saw this amazing columbarium and I spent a long time studying the tributes and photos left there by family members. Artificial flowers were part and parcel of the picture and it was enchanting.


I am probably making too much of this little sign but it seems to me to be a perfect example of how our society tries to mold us to their own way of thinking and it’s a not-so-subtle attempt to cut us off from those who differ from us. It’s also a great way to stamp out creativity.

Of course the cemetery owners have every right to make their own rules . I just think, rather than posting a sign that reads “no artificial flowers”, it would be much less offensive to merely tell their customers that all flowers will fade at some point and, artificial or real, when they become unsightly they will be removed.


Blogger troutbirder said...

Indeed. Each fall my spouse places one of those pine bough wreaths on our sons grave. It lasts all winter and then is removed and replaced in the spring with flowers from our garden... There are no "rules" about all this.

4:26 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You are right to say that artificial flowers can be beautiful. In the past, I have even been fooled and taken pictures of some. However, I often find that those that go on grave sites don't tend to look right to my eyes. Maybe people just buy the cheapies, but it jars me somehow and doesn't seem like a fit memorial to me.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

I heard something about this years ago Ginnie. I think it had something to do with being understaffed when it came time to remove the weathered silk flowers.
Jake and I visited a cemetery last year and found a huge pile of faded, weathered, silk flowers in the woods bordering the cemetery! But again I'm not sure about this.
Love Di ♥

6:12 AM  
Blogger Bonnie Jacobs said...

I like your idea that, whatever the flowers were made from (nature or silk or whatever), they would be removed when they become "unsightly." That leaves it vague enough to work, it seems to me.

9:46 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

We live in such a confusing world..a world dictated by rules and more rules. I can't say that I love artificial flowers over "real" flowers, but then let us each do what feels the best, as long as it does not truly harm another.
I cannot understand the harm of silk flowers, and now, forgive me..I cannot understand the damned rules that you must not and cannot have a clothesline.
I know that they are vastly different, but somehow for me they seem the same. Let us all honor life as it should be...loved ones lost, to the very mundane and real stuff, which is loss and laundry.
Oh, I may offend many.

5:24 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I agree with you. It's true that there are some very ugly artificial flower arrangements, but they shouldn't be totally banned.

8:04 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

I think you are on to something. We do sometimes have strange views about the dead, and the places they are interred.
The cemetery close to my house is park-like and would be a great place to walk a dog. But the signs loudly proclaim--NO DOGS. Now, I understand, some folks are thoughtless and leave dog waste unbagged. But I never do. And, frankly, if I were buried in that cemetery, I would love visits from dogs, along with artificial flowers demonstrating someone remembers me.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Ginnie,

Greetings and good wishes.
I hope you are having a lovely Sunday.

Lovely photos.

Your thoughts that society molds our thoughts is absolutely true. It not only molds our thoughts,our way of dressing, our behavior,our food habits etc.

At present I am trying to arrange a suitable girl for my son who is working as software engineer in Singapore. It appears to be a very difficult task and consumes a lot of time. Hopefully I will succeed.

Best wishes Ginnie,
Take care,

3:31 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

Artificial flowers are the only recourse to those of us who do not live near enough to replenish fresh ones. Four times a year I drive my aunt to various cemeteries and we change the arrangements on our relative's graves.

11:15 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Interesting post........ very thoughty as my old neighbor would say. I have never left artificial flowers, tho some can be beautiful. I have planted bulbs on some graves. True, they only bloom once a year, but I can't get there often and no one else comes to visit.
I remember my aunt saying she wanted her flowers while she was alive, what good were they to her when she was gone... I tried to do that for her. I get to her grave once a year and usually leave a potted plant. We had a stone with a planter built in. No one else ever goes there. Someone cleans it off, but I have heard it was still blooming one year in Oct and I bought it in June.
Its an interesting question...

6:32 AM  
Anonymous schmidleysscribblins, said...

I'm afraid I agee with the sign. Even in forign places plastic flowers don't look good on graves. Sun and rain destroy the silk ones too.

So what if the real flowers wilt. The flowers symbolize life's transitoriness...dust to dust.

I have no problems with Middle Class mores based on a Judeo-Christian foundation.

Without them society deteriorates faster than any kind of flower.

Every spring after the threat of frosts was over, my Aunt Marge planted living flowers on her parents graves. They bloomed all summer and died back in fall under the snows.

Now that she is gone, no one is planting the flowers and that's just too sad.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Big John said...

I would sooner see artificial flowers than what I see so often here in the UK ... real flowers placed in tribute with the plastic wrapping from the florist left in place.

6:54 AM  
Blogger joared said...

Maybe the florists protested, or they wanted to stimulate business. I agree real flowers are the ideal -- but life is not ideal and practicality does enter the picture. I see nothing objectionable about using artificial flowers for those who choose to use them for whatever the reasons. Just like the real ones, when they disintegrate or look poorly, get rid of them.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I agree with your comment in reaction to the sign, Ginnie. Perhaps the cemetery management feel that live arrangement would die off and become part of the environment whereas the artificial ones will not.

4:54 PM  

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