According to Worcester News, Astwood Cemetery is no longer allowing flowers to be placed at the base of memorial tree’s and garden areas that have been set aside for loved ones who’ve passed.
These specific areas are designated for ashes that have been interred and are rented by families from city council. David Sutton, council cemetery service chief, said: “The garden has become busier in recent years and we need to balance the desire of the bereaved to remember and commemorate their loved ones in whatever way they wish with the need to maintain a tranquil and attractive environment”. Flowers left in this area are being removed by staff and placed on outdoor sculptures that were designed to house the floral tributes.
This has greatly upset Rebecca Davies. Her family has leased a tree in this area for 13 yrs in memory of her Great Grandmother, Elsie Primrose Davies. Rebecca visited her Grandma’s tree last Monday but was stopped by staff when she tried to place flowers at the base of the tree. She has started a petition in hopes of changing the new rules, already she has over 200 signatures. Rebecca also created a Facebook Page opposing the changes.
IMO – This is a hard balance to create. People who have lost loved ones have every right to lay flowers in memory, however, the council does have an obligation to keep things “tidy” as well. There has been a lot of research on flowers and the bereaved, it is proven that flowers are an important part of the grieving process.
The American Floral Endowment and the SAF Florist Information Committee joined forces in a study called “The Role of Flowers and Plants in the Bereavement Process”. They surveyed funeral directors, grief therapists, consumers, and individuals, who had lost a loved one in the past one to five years. The results confirmed what many had already assumed, flowers are sent as an expression of sympathy. Fifty six percent of the funeral directors think flowers are an expression of sympathy for the family, 85 percent of the consumers said flowers are sent to comfort the survivors, and 82 percent of the bereaved agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “sending flowers is a way I show someone I care.” The giving of flowers symbolizes the love, care, and concern for the survivors.
The results show flowers continue to be an important part of the funeral ritual. The majority of funeral directors surveyed said they did not like doing funerals without flowers because the setting was so cold. Eighty percent of the grief therapists surveyed think receiving flowers is an aid in the grieving process. Fifty-one precent of the bereaved agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “flowers” are a critical component of the funeral ritual.”
When funeral directors were asked to rank seven items often associated with funerals according to the comfort they provided the bereaved, flowers and plants ranked 4th after friends, funeral directors, and clergy. However, flowers were ranked ahead of sympathy cards and food.
I can understand why Rebecca was upset at not being able to leave her gift of flowers at the base of the tree dedicated to her Grandma however I also understand the councils view on the matter. What do you think? Should mourners be able to leave flowers wherever in the garden that their loved ones are interred? Is placing them on nearby sculptures designed to hold the blooms a better solution?