Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hope Springs Eternal with Eternal Hopes for Spring


Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

With the sad news of the indictment of Punxsutawney Phil (lying rodent that he is), and 2-4 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow, I feel the need for some botanicals.  And while I am impatiently waiting for the living kind, I am also, uh, dying to get to some cemeteries to see blossoms carved in stone as well. 

The 19th-century Victorians had a language of flowers called floriography that assigned special meanings to every flower.  And while floriography was mainly for live flowers, it also passed through the cemetery gate and lent its meanings to carvings on tombstones.  A marble wreath of multiple types of flowers conveyed a many-layered message of grief and loss and remembrance and pride and love for the deceased.  It also cost less to carve a bouquet than it did to add a lengthy epitaph, and although not everyone in the 19th century was literate, symbols were almost universally recognizable.

Floriography reached an almost frenzied height of popularity in the 1800s, but the Victorians did not invent it.  The 17th-century Turks created a language where flowers took the place of words, and arrangements of certain flowers could be sent to someone to convey a message.  French and English visitors to Turkey learned this floral language and brought it back with them to Western Europe. 

Books were written in the 1800s that detailed the meanings of all kinds of flowers and plants, and lovers especially took advantage of the chance to send bouquets of blooms conveying passion and love, without actually having to speak or write down these feelings.  Better to have an overprotective father walk right past a dozen blood-red roses in a vase on the foyer table  than to have him intercept a lover's note brimming with undying love and lust for the father's young daughter.

Some 19th-century meanings of blooms include:

Red Tulip - Declaration of love
Yellow Tulip - Hopeless love
Lily of the Valley - Trustworthy
Daffodil - Uncertainty, chivalry, respect, or unrequited love
Daisy - Innocence, loyal love, purity, faith, cheer, simplicity
Hibiscus - Rare beauty, delicate beauty
White Roses - Eternal Love, Purity
Yellow Roses - Friendship
Red & Yellow Roses Together - Joy, Happiness, and Excitement
Red & White Roses Together - Unity
Thornless Rose - Love at First Sight
Yellow Carnation - You have disappointed me; Rejection; disdain
Striped Carnation - Refusal
Morning glory - Love In Vain
Lobelia - Malevolence
Love lies bleeding - Hopelessness
Marigold - Pain and grief
Black Rose - Death, hatred, farewell
Hydrangea - Frigidness, Heartlessness

One of the most popular books written on floriography was Sarah Josepha Hale's Flora's Interpreter:  Or, the American Book of Flowers and Sentiments, first printed in 1832.  Demand for the book continued for the next 30 years.  The hand-colored floral plates accompanied verses about the sentiment belonging to that particular bloom.  Sarah Josepha Hale was a Philadelphia editor for Godey's Ladies Book (one of the first women's magazines), and she also convinced President Lincoln to set aside a day in November for the country to give thanks for its bounty.  Yes, Ms. Hale is responsible for the tryptophan-stupor that incapacitates us for hours every Thanksgiving Day.  Below is an 1833 edition of her Flora's Interpeter.

 
 
 
Considering that I will be driving to work tomorrow in a sleety, slippery, slushy, sloppy mess, I don't care what flower I see.  I just want to see some.  In living color, or on weathered stone, the form doesn't matter.  Bring me Spring!!
 
Mountain View Cemetery, Upper Exeter, PA


Indian Creek Christ Reformed Church Cemetery, Indian Valley, PA

Gilbert Cemetery, Gilbert, PA

Stark Cemetery, Starkville, PA

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Catterson Cemetery, Sterling, PA

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Mount Zion Cemetery, Pottsgrove, PA

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA


Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

Green Grove Cemetery, Pleasant Mount, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA


Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA


Laurel Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Milford Cemetery, Milford, PA

New Goshenhoppen Union Cemetery, East Greenville, PA

Old Brooklyn Cemetery, Brooklyn, PA

Old Falkner Swamp UCC Cemetery, Gilbertsville, PA

Rosedale Cemetery, Mount Clair, NJ

Olde Church of St. Andrew, Newtown, PA

St. Luke Episcopal Cemetery, Newtown, PA

St. Luke Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Ferndale, PA


Trumbauersville UCC Cemetery, Trumbauersville, PA

St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery, Sassamansville, PA

West Swamp Mennonite Cemetery, Quakertown, PA

Mount Joy Lutheran Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ

Gilbert Cemetery, Gilbert, PA

Gilbert Cemetery, Gilbert, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA

Greenwood Cemetery, Howertown, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA

Hollenback Cemetery, Wilkes Barre, PA

Lower Saucon Christ Lutheran Cemetery, Hellertown, PA

Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

Mt. Bethel United Methodist Cemetery, Myersville, MD

Mount Joy Lutheran Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Mount Joy Lutheran Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Wilkes Barre City Cemetery, Wilkes Barre, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ

Evergreen Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ

Gnaden Huetten Cemetery, Lehighton, PA

Gnaden Huetten Cemetery, Lehighton, PA

Hazleton Cemetery, Hazleton, PA

Jordan UCC Cemetery, Walbert, PA

Jordan UCC Cemetery, Walbert, PA

Lower Saucon Christ Lutheran Cemetery, Hellertown, PA

Kellers Church Cemetery, Bedminster, PA

Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, PA

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, PA

Mount Joy Lutheran Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

New Goshenhoppen Union Cemetery, East Greenville, PA


New Goshenhoppen Union Cemetery, East Greenville, PA

Zion's Stone Church Cemetery, New Ringgold, PA

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Zion's Stone Church Cemetery, New Ringgold, PA