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In lieu of flowers...

I recently read yet another obituary that stated, “In lieu of flowers, send memorials to...” Why do people de-value the emotional importance and role that flowers play in the grieving process?

Funeral flowers are usually sent because people care and they want to comfort grieving survivors. Flowers are an emotional representation of beauty and sympathy; they are a visible expression of support that research proves creates a positive impact on the emotional wellbeing of the bereaved.

A joint SAF/AFE study revealed that 80 percent of grief therapists surveyed feel that receiving flowers is an aid in the grieving process and 51 percent of the bereaved agree that flowers are a critical component of the funeral ritual. Even funeral directors said they didn’t like doing funerals without flowers because the setting was too cold. While the “in lieu of flowers” phrase traces back to the 1950s, it has recently become more popular with the proliferation of charitable organizations seeking memorial donations.

But can’t charitable giving happen without the negative reference to flowers? Maybe the statement should be changed to, ”In addition to flowers …” And speaking of flowers, in this edition we introduce you to two breakthrough white sunflower varieties, along with some new roses with ruffled petals; Ramiro Peñaherrera describes the evolution of Ecuadorian Baby’s Breath; four guest writers offer you tips for Valentine’s Day; and we recap two recent trade shows.

Our next issue will feature the floral industry outlook for 2018. I wish you all Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas! See you then.

Richard Lutes is the floral editor and floral sales manager of The Produce News. He can be contacted at 763/595-9559 or lutes@theproducenews.com.