Local cemeteries say artificial flowers won’t do

By Gordon Lambie

Hatley Township resident Lois McCourt has been making monument saddles of artificial flowers for local graves at a rate of about a dozen per year for the last twenty years, bringing them to local cemeteries on behalf of families who live too far away to do so themselves. Recently, however, she has discovered that many of these decorations, meant as a way of honouring lost loved ones, are being removed and, in some cases damaged, almost as soon as they are placed.
“I went to check and found one that I had just sold to somebody thrown up against the little shed at the side of the cemetery,” she said, speaking of a recent trip to Lennoxville’s Malvern Cemetery.
McCourt said that she has seen several cases of flowers being removed at both Malvern and the Bury Cemetery, in some cases without informing the families involved.
“It’s each family’s way of honouring their loved ones,” she said. “(The cemeteries) seem to think (removing the flowers) looks wonderful but it just looks so barren now.”
Kevin Frost, President of the Malvern Cemetery’s Board of Directors, explained to The Record that a ban on plastic flowers was made by unanimous vote five years ago, although he acknowledged that there is an adjustment taking place at the moment because this is the first year where the policy is being enforced.
Frost said that the reasoning for the decision has to do with a number of factors, ranging from environmental concerns about plastics to aesthetic concerns as the flowers degrade over time and come apart.
“The bugs get into them, then the birds pick them apart to get to the bugs,” he said, adding that even the flowers that don’t get torn apart by the local wildlife become less appealing over time without necessarily getting removed or replaced.

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