Plastic Flowers at Cemeteries

15 04 2012

When I started my Blog, I planned to write about things I loved and hated about life in Nova Scotia. Someone has already commented that I don’t seem to have many dislikes, but that is because, apart from the road surfaces and the overhead electric cables, there are not many things I feel strongly against.

But, I have found another thing I am not too keen on.

I have seen people at the roadside selling plastic flower wreaths and these seem to be mainly to put at grave sides. These flowers are usually of the gaudiest colours and bear little resemblance to real flowers.

They may brighten up a dull grave yard in winter, but my feelings are that the colours look cheap ant tacky. I really am not a lover of plastic flowers.

Even when the colours are kept to a minimum and the flowers look more realistic.

I believe that some cemeteries do not allow any artificial flowers, and many have to be removed by the end of March.

I realise that real flowers are costly, but I do not think these bouquets will be inexpensive.  People want to demonstrate their love, by caring for their families graves.

Am I just being unfairly prejudiced against plastic flowers, or should they continue to be seen around the cemeteries?

Or if they are to continue should they look as realistic as possible?

Comments please.

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10 responses

15 04 2012
Sybil

Jackie, I agree that they can sometimes look tacky, but I don’t think they should be forbidden. I actually thought the first photo was of real flowers ! lol Those pink ribbons in the last shot bug me most. I’ll be interested to see what everyone else thinks too.

Cheers, Sybil

16 04 2012
jackiequeen

Thanks, Sybil, for your comments. I thought the cornflowers looked quite natural in the first photo, but not with all the other colours. I have finally written something that has stirred up some feeling! Great!

16 04 2012
Joyce

Jackie, I totally agree with you! No to plastic flowers – in fact, no to all flowers! What a waste of money! Give the money to a charity! Kirkcaldy Crem always looked tacky with all the memorial stones (including my own father’s) along the path and plastic flowers strewn everywhere. In my opinion, people need to think about whether they are willing to commit to visiting the graves regularly and replacing the flowers or at least make an effort to remove dead flowers. I think dead flowers only show neglect not respect. I had Dad’s stone removed when I moved to Australia.

16 04 2012
jackiequeen

I didn’t realise that there were plastic flowers in the cemeteries in the UK, Joyce. Well, at least not to the extent they are here. I actually like the headstones and enjoy visiting old graveyards and reading the names and dates. There’s a lot to be learnt in a burial ground.

16 04 2012
heather

I totally disagree with the no to plastic flowers. People have a right to show their love and respect to their beloved and with the extreme cost and fragility of fresh flowers the plastic option is a way to demostrate life, vitality and indeed colour to what is often a very sombre and grey spot. The luxury of fresh flowers is just not part of the culture of most rural (or urban) Canadian communities – at least not in the past when they were indeed a luxury and often not even available at any price (you can still see plastic flower arrangements in the sitting rooms of many older peoples homes). It is insulting to suggest plastic is too tacky to be used in a private cemetery (a bit like insulting someone’s home decor, which we could all do on either side of the Pond). When fresh are used at gravesides they are dead within a few days and seeing dead flowers at a graveside for many is depressing. Whereas – very importantly – plastic flowers, though they do fade somewhat in the span of a year, continue to mark that a grave ‘belongs to someone’. Having no headstone for a dearly beloved would be considered a shame to most Canadians – indeed I think it more likely someone would ensure a stone is laid before moving overseas. I’m Canadian but have lived in Britain nearly 10 years – I think there are some cultural differences between us on cemeteries. Visiting the cemetery, for example, for the annual service of remembrance is central to many Canadians tie to their deceased family members. Being unable to attend this every year for me is a disappointment. When I do attend I make a point of bringing additional (plastic) flowers (of my taste but I won’t criticise anyone else’s!) and lay them at gravesides of relatives (or friends) who’s family I know can’t be there to lay their own. Up until a few years a go the super bright coloured flowers (hot pink etc) weren’t available; I expect these will go out of fashion in time like all colour fads.

16 04 2012
jackiequeen

Thanks, Heather, for your very welcome comments. You are so right in saying that flowers are expensive here. Fresh flowers were just one of the things we took for granted in Scotland, but I still wouldn’t buy plastic flowers to take their place. I think that all those bright colours looked out of place yesterday, when the grass was still yellow and the trees were just coming
into bud. I like places to look natural and would prefer green wreathes, which last for months. It was also educational for you to tell me about the older people still having plastic flowers in their homes. I always thought Remembrance Day was to remember all those killed in armed combat. Yes, it will stir up memories for everyone of their own family, but they should be remembered all year. I hope we get more comments, to stir up a discussion.

16 04 2012
Anne.

Don`t like plastic flower`s at all. I think Flower`s should be given to the living

17 04 2012
jackiequeen

Yes, Anne, I agree. I don’t think the flowers do the dead any good, they just make the relative feel better and make a show of looking after the grave. The more I think about this subject, the more I feel that any flowers left at graves should be biodegradable, so that would mean real flowers or paper flowers. I am very surprised that Canadians, who take so much care of their environment, are not stricter on this issue. But then it is a very sensitive question.

10 07 2012
Mrs. GV

I don’t love the plastic flowers either, but I understand why people put them out. They last a long time, and let others know that there is someone around who cares about the people they lost. Personally I take fresh flowers to my dad’s grave, because that is what he liked—wildflowers of all different colors.

18 10 2013
cemetery guy

If i may chime in on the debate. Personally i hate plastic flowers. They are fake and lifeless dollar store garbage. Now with that said… let me explain the real reason why fake flowers are not permitted at certain times in a certain cemeteries. Most rural and older cemeteries (not big corporate ones) are pretty much near bankrupt. They are cash strappe dfor maintenance funds. I find it ironic that for some of you that like the look of them… you are the ones that leave them way to long after they have faded, been beaten and battered by wind, snow, ice and rain and have blown all over the cemetery. Not to mention ribbons blowing plastic bags in trees Oh and not to mention the deflated balloons laying on the ground like litter. You are the ones that often show up once per year to leave your garbage and never come back to pick it up. Cemeteries ban them because generally people never come back to collect them once they are worn out…leaving the burden and cost of clean up and disposal to the cash strapped cemetery or the overworked volunteers. Now I know not everyone leaves there’s out past the removal date… but the regulation have to be what is in the best interest of maintaining the cemetery. The good of the many outweighs the privileges of the few. If you want to pay respect to your loved ones- volunteer at the cemetery – it will be there long after your fake flowers! Pot, iron shepherdhooks, wreath wire and saddle wiring all pose health and safety hazards to law cutters and cemetery workers. Health and safety trumps all!

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