This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Curious indeed is the part which flowers are made to play in our ceremonialism; but if they have been held essential to the proper observance of the marriage rites, when joy is supposed to reign triumphant, we now see them in death emblems of profound sorrow. Never previously, perhaps, have flowers formed a more prominent feature in the obsequies of death than was evidenced in Paris, on the occasion of the funeral of that distinguished man who was among the most illustrious of French statesmen. When we read of three huge wagon-loads of floral devices, and even larger quantities carried by the numerous deputations in the procession, we may well ask whether modern public funerals are not in danger of becoming transformed into popular celebrations at the shrine of Flora. It was computed that 250,000 francs were spent for flowers on the Boulevards alone, and that even more than that sum was expended in the flower market and amongst the gardeners in the environs of Paris; one wealthy man spent 4000 francs in Corsica, and the greenhouses of opulent bourgeois were made to furnish an immense quota.
Then, and not least, the gardens of Nice were shorn of their flowers, which were sent by express to Paris that they might help swell in mountains of wreaths and bouquets the great volume of French mourning and sorrow. The French are a volatile people, and when they grieve they do so in masses and with profound intensity, just as when they rejoice they do so exuberantly. Englishmen, too can mourn their illustrious dead, but though they make flowers emblems of grief, respect, and profound feeling, they will, we trust, never convert a public funeral into a monster floral demonstration. For that and similar reasons, perhaps, France may just now prove a more profitable Elysium for flower growers than England is, but perhaps with us the demand for flowers, if less inpulsive, is more enduring and discriminative. - Gardeners' Chronicle.