Flowers at Funerals – a brief history

The first flowers…

Flowers at a funeral are a very old tradition. The earliest example of flowers at a burial, is in the Shanidar Cave Burials, discovered in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. You can read more about them using this link.

There is some debate over whether these flowers were deliberately placed at the burial site 10,600 years ago, or if they were an accidental result of animal activity? Either way, it shows our strong association between flowers and bereavement.

Over the centuries, flowers have played a practical role in funerals. Perhaps now more as an emotional token, silently conveying a final message to the deceased.


Modern day…

The Woodland Burial Company understand how important flowers are at a funeral but, there is the tricky issue of how they fit with our sustainable ethos. The main problem is when florists use plastic in their frames, wrappings or ribbons.  For obvious reasons therefore, these materials cannot be left on the woodland floor. We have a Wildlife Preservation Order at Granville’s Wood, making the welfare of our wildlife a top priority. Anything they shouldn’t eat or could get trapped in, has to go.

We are proud of the wonderful variety of native animals we have at our site. Most of them we have also been lucky enough to catch on camera! Deer, hedgehogs, mice, voles, squirrels (even spiders). There are  also have some feathered friends – including a buzzard.

This makes keeping their environment safe is a responsibility we take very seriously.

To address this issue, the Woodland Burial Company searched for a florist with the same passion for sustainable living.  The Vanda Vase florists have made some simple but effective alterations to the traditional funeral offering. As a result, now provide localised, 100% degradable arrangements that possess all the beauty and emotional impact associated with funeral displays.

Together we have created a range of tributes, in fitting with the rules and regulations of Granville’s wood. This also fits with our work to support the Sustainable Development GoalsGoal 12 Responsible Consumption. 

Sharing ideas…

Flowers can have a spiritual significance and people often have favourites. flowers can beautifully evoke the season or a specific memory, perhaps flowers used for a wedding bouquet. They are a testimony to the fragility of life and can make a difficult day more beautiful.

It is the Woodland Burial Company’s hope that more florists will follow in Vanda Vase’s footsteps and realise the importance of

the little changes that make a big difference. Our community have been getting creative too. By making use of a variety of natural products to make their nooks beautiful and personal.

We will be putting together some of those ideas to share with future families. Our favourite so far was a floral display in a hollowed out pumpkin! It looked amazing, and it was a wonderful feast on the forest floor as well.