There is a lot of talk today about donating to charities instead of sending flowers to send your condolences.  While some families request this flowers are still a valuable part of the healing process.  There is a new director in town, Todd VanBeck of Forest Hill Cemeteries, who has written a wonderful and informative guide to the ins and outs of funeral flowers and he has graciously shared his work with us.  Following is an excerpt from  his article and it has some great information.

By: Todd VanBeck


         Through history, flowers have been used
to symbolize almost every aspect of the life cycle, from birth through death.
In death, flowers are used to symbolize how the beauty of creation is temporary
and, as sure as the flower must be cut from the stem, so it is with life—we
all, too, must have our life cut from the stem, so to speak.

         Flowers also have a particular
aesthetic value in the face of death, for the beauty of the flower helps
balance our emotional response to the sharp contrast of the perceived ugliness
of death. Flowers help soften the raw data imagery that death leaves with
         The fragility of life is also
symbolized by a flower. Flowers, to be healthy, require the proper condition to
grow and expand – just like human beings.
         And finally, the color of flowers has a
specific symbolism, particularly in religious thought.

         A.  A purple flower is a symbol of
penitence and royalty. This floral color is used during the preparatory and
penitential seasons of Advent and Lent.
         B.  A white flower is the symbol of joyous
and celebrative color of light. This floral color is used during the festive
seasons of Christmas and Easter, and on high days during ordinary times.


         C.  A green flower is the symbol of nature
in the freshness of growth – hence our green cemeteries. This floral color is
used, except on high days, during ordinary times, the seasons after Epiphany
         D.  A red flower is the symbol of fire and
blood, and is used on the Day of Pente­cost and on other special occasions when
the work of the Holy Spirit or the blood of Christ or of martyrs is being
         E.  A black flower is the symbol used for
Good Friday, though red flowers are also sometimes used.
         Flowers, as we have just discussed,
help the person think in symbolic terms, which is the way that much of the
information concerning death is communicated.