How to Make Cemetery Vase Arrangements

Flowers express your feelings.

Offering flowers at the grave of a loved one is a beautiful expression of a memorial to life's passing. Cemeteries are full of many different kinds of floral arrangements, as bright and vibrant flowers symbolize nature's cycles of death and rebirth. Finding the right vase and arranging the flowers properly will insure that your offering will remain fresh for as long as possible, leaving a beautiful gift at your loved one's resting place.

Gather and prepare the flowers of your choosing. You might buy flowers from a store or use symbolic flowers -- maybe the favorite bloom of your loved one or a flower with symbolic meaning. For example, yellow roses often symbolize "remember me." Or maybe your loved one was fond of hand-picked wildflowers. Gather the greenery which will be interspersed between the blossoms. Fresh flowers which have been kept cool and conditioned are best.

Trim the stems of the flowers at a 45-degree angle using the scissors or shears. This will help the flowers retain water and nourishment when they are in the vase. Trim them to a length appropriate to the height of the cemetery vase. Then place the flowers in a jar or vase with lukewarm water and keep them covered in a dark space for one to two hours so that they are well prepared for being placed in the cemetery later.

Using a sharp knife, shape the floral foam to fit at the base of the cemetery vase. Keeping weight at the bottom of the vase will prevent it from falling over as it is exposed to the natural elements. Then add to the vase water and floral preservative, soaking the foam.

Take the flowers you have prepared out of the cool dark place and arrange them as you choose by inserting their angled stems into the floral foam. Often floral arrangers start with the "filler" floral — greenery, then smaller, multiple blooms -- and then add the larger, showier or more singular flowers as the focus of the bouquet. Since your arrangement will probably have a front and a back as it is placed near the grave, arrange the flowers accordingly. There should not be too many "holes" when making your flower arrangement, so try to fill any spaces.

Bring your floral arrangement to the cemetery. Also bring a container of water mixed with the floral preservative. Insert the spiked end of the cemetery vase into the ground and make sure it is firmly embedded so that it stands straight. Pour the remaining water-floral preservative mixture into the mouth of the vase.

Halie Theoharides started writing professionally in 2001. With work published in "NOÖ Journal," "Shampoo" and "Yes, Poetry," she was also the recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English Award. Theoharides holds a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College.