Church decorations are sometimes very elaborate, palms being of the greatest service, and many times the flowers used must be only white. There is where our Lilium Harrisii and L. longiflorum are of so great a value, and early white chrysanthemums in the fall.
In addition to the palms, some perfectly fresh, clean, handsome bay trees, both the standard and pyramidal, can be used with great effect; their formal shape, that might look stiff and awkward in a drawing-room, is in keeping with the solemn tone and architecture of a church.
Easter decorations have undergone a great change, and it has been largely by the will of the pastors. In addition to their sacred ideas they have also secular notions, and among them is one that it is a waste of money for the congregation to donate a hundred dollars, more or less, for flowers; they believe it would be better added to their salary or given to the poor, as if the florist was not poor enough. So many a church decoration no longer exists among our regular orders, but there are just as many plants sold which are sent as offerings to the church, and "the ladies of the congregation, assisted by the deacons, arrange the donations," and then the Monday morning paper says: "The interior of beautiful St. William's was a bower of beauty, blending its incense with the heavenly music so ably rendered by the efficient choir under the direction of Prof. Flat."
Some churches still give you a fixed sum and ask you to make as good a show as you can for the money. And as no flowering plants should ever be loaned they ask that the plants be those that can be given to the poor and sick of the parish after the festival is over. It is a beautiful practice. You have given joy to the poor who received them and helped the poor who grew them.
Designs as memorials to those who have gone before are now entirely out of fashion. Even the Easter cross, once so universally used on this occasion, is now not asked for, as the altar is furnished with a gold or silver cross presented by some wealthy member of the congregation. With all this our churches are beautiful with flowers sent by members of the church, and what is good and sensible about it is that it is not confined to any one or two denominations, but Episcopal and Methodist, Presbyterian and Unitarian, celebrate with flowers and music. This is right. If it is a glad day for one sect it must be for all.