Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Floral tributes at funerals

Floral tributes at the South London Crematorium and Streatham Park Cemetery, London Borough of Merton, early in November 2015.

012The dog, photographed on 4 November,  was placed on the grave of Pearl Esme Taylor, who died aged 88 on 10 October 2015.

The chess-board, photograped on 2 November, was in memory of Surtharampillai Kanthavanathan, who was cremated on 1 November.

Both were made mainly of white 024chrysanthemum flowers, some of which had been dyed black, apparently by having a dye sprayed on to them.  The chess-board had real chess-men attached.  The dog had glass eyes and a real collar, ears made of what looked to be foliage of a species of Asparagus which had been dyed black, and a tail of another species of Asparagus and a palm frond which had been dyed white.

008Mrs Taylor’s grave was also decorated with a arrangement, largely composed of non-plant materials, which depicted a seashell with a pearl inside it, thus referring to her first name.

These tributes were exceptional; most of the flowers sent to cremations and funerals were less personal and of standard designs which could have been used for anyone.

Edited 14 January 2024.

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