16 Jun2007

Rose Wreath

by Marketman


It’s been one of those years… Several people we know have passed away in the last twelve months. It’s a sign we are getting older I suppose, though some of the departed were actually younger than us. I have never been comfortable at wakes and can’t stay for long… and when I do sit in a wake, besides a short prayer and remembering fond memories of the dearly departed, I inevitably stare at all of the floral tributes and quietly review/critique them… petty, I know… but if we went through life with a thought bubble visible to the rest of the world, I would probably offend a lot of folks along my path… I may just be so incredibly traditional, but I think flowers for a wake should be white or ivory, period. And I don’t know if you have noticed lately, but so many funeral wreaths or tributes have become these huge one dimensional flattish green leaf wonders with a few flowers poked into them. I realize most folks are too busy with their own lives and when someone passes away, they just call the nearest florist and ask them to send a floral something or other…and “other” is what you typically get.

Over the past 30 years, I think the quality of floral tributes sent to wakes has really deteriorated. That is a personal observation, but it is rooted in the fact that what usually arrives at a wake these days is a LARGE, if not overly LARGE concoction of garden variety leaves in dark green with a smattering of flowers stuck into the green leaves like pins wreath2into a pin cushion. If you sprung for some serious money, you get better and more variety of flowers. If you were modest about expenditure, you get a few points of white or worse, serious tropical color. Then there are those horrific greetings on ribbon written out with pentel pen, YIKES!!! Wreaths used to be the usual floral tribute at wakes because they symbolized eternal life (I suppose spinning forever in an endless circle) but they are a rare sight these days. A few months ago I did the flowers for a wake of someone special and they turned out quite well. Last week, the mother of a good friend passed away and we wanted to send something special. We had this classic wreath crafted using nearly 500 white roses from Benguet, rosal leaves around the outer edge to cover the frame of the arrangement. I had to go to the wholesale flower market to get enough flowers and find folks who would do it the way we wanted. The results were rather stunning, don’t you think? We were thrilled with the relatively small, simple, but striking wreath. A fitting tribute to a great lady (who cooked me a fantastic meal once, even)…



  1. ntgerald says:

    I agree. It looks terrific.

    Jun 16, 2007 | 8:33 pm


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  3. Cookie says:

    Beautiful..very beautiful indeed.

    Jun 16, 2007 | 9:18 pm

  4. Traci says:

    i just saw a pink rose wreath tonight at the Sanctuario de San Antonio mortuary.. someone must’ve been inspired by you!

    Jun 16, 2007 | 11:04 pm

  5. Maria Clara says:

    Magnificent arrangement including the tripod well done! I totally agree with you when it comes to remembrance arrangements WHITE to off white – peach light color for purity and eternity in my own view – not those loud color arrangements with tropical flowers like you walk into a luau gathering. They kill the serenity of the place. Big bows with pentel penned remembrance notes are big offenders too – they should be kept alone and express their thoughts on a card or personalized stationery if available or just on a piece of nice paper more personalized touch. To get credit for the sender a florist card tucked in neatly is the way to do it my own personal view. As for arrangements filled with green leaves I guess economics play a role on this – it depends on how much the sender wants to spend and the poor florist just has to come up with a big bright idea of a filler and the most affordable ones are the leaves!!!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 4:04 am

  6. tracy says:

    My grandfather actually just died last week. Our visiting room is overflowing with floral arrangements (i’m glad people remember my kong kong), and yes I admit: I also rate floral arrangements.

    I’d never been to a wake/funeral before so I wondered what the difference between funeral floral arrangements and ones for store openings since they look the same. And I wondered why the flowers were so bright…and Chinese happy lucky red.

    Although tonight I did see a new (yellow) wreath; it looked really more appropriate.

    I hope my post doesn’t upset anyone. :)

    Jun 17, 2007 | 4:14 am

  7. juls says:

    simply stunning… simple yet elegant..

    Jun 17, 2007 | 4:55 am

  8. Maria Clara says:

    Purple colored flowers to go with the Christian color during Lent season for mourning are also nice for remembrance in my own view.

    Jun 17, 2007 | 5:29 am

  9. wil-b cariaga says:

    class. . .

    Jun 17, 2007 | 6:46 am

  10. Dodi says:

    Less flowers,more greens, more expensive, more profit – can’t anyody see that? Better to make your own simple flower tribute than buy these huge, commercial things!Your wreath? Superb!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 4:16 pm

  11. Dodi says:

    And yes, I find those purple ribbons announcing the names of the giver really tacky, it’s like having a contest!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 4:19 pm

  12. bluegirl says:

    Beautiful and elegant!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 6:37 pm

  13. pistachio says:

    Beautiful arrangement, Marketman!

    Regarding floral wreaths, here’s a piece of trivia I read somewhere: The practice of having flowers at a wake or a funeral came about in Europe in the old days, when embalming was not yet perfected. They would pack the funeral parlor with tons of flowers to mask the odor of a decomposing body. In the 20th century, the embalming technique was finally perfected, and since the flowers now no longer serve their original purpose, the green leafy wreaths could be a practical alternative. :)

    But I do agree about the ribbons with the donors’ names — extremely tacky!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 10:39 pm

  14. ann says:

    hello. i will be there in manila in july. maybe u can help me find a class that offers flower arrangement while am there. at least a day or two seminar. it would be a big help. thank u.

    Jun 20, 2007 | 10:14 am

  15. queenie says:

    i like the arrangement of the white floral wreaths but for me it is much better if we send a basket of flowers and give a card, its more practical ,

    Jul 13, 2007 | 10:44 pm

  16. Marghi says:

    Its so nice to see that a foodie blogger also feels strongly about flowers!!!! I agree too abot the white flowers for those who pass away. I agree about the white wreath too …classic old-style elegance…you should check out the classic wreaths that the President sends sometimes…super elegant social secretary started choosing them to send, bringing back lots of class and old-world elegance…regardless of political preferences, I must say, things are done so tastefully now at the Palace, and with much prudence and restraint….they have also developed their own in-house florist by the name of Nick,,,,what a gem…the Palace has its own style now, just like the White House…

    Aug 7, 2007 | 2:58 am

  17. inday hami says:

    lovely arrangement MM. thanks too to pistachio for that trivia about wreaths.

    yeah, i wish there would be more flowers instead of leaves but the cost of flowers, esp. white roses, when they arrive at provinces like my home, Iloilo, can get pretty expensive.

    Jan 15, 2008 | 6:26 pm


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