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  • Lesson 8: Sympathy Terminology

    Basket – A container filled with fresh flowers and foliage. The basket could be wicker, plastic or metal.

    Blooming Plant – A common sympathy tribute, many varieties of blooming plants are available depending on the season. Popular choices are chrysanthemums, azaleas, gloxinias, cyclamen, kalanchoe and poinsettia.

    Casket Blanket – A solid design of flowers and foliage created on a fabric base. The blanket covers the casket top and often cascades over the sides to the floor.

    Casket Scarf – A design (smaller than a casket spray) that drapes over a portion of the casket. This design often includes a runner made of fabric, ribbon or foliage, and is accented with flowers.

    Casket Spray – A floral composition designed to be placed on the top of the casket. Two types are available: full-couch casket spray extends the length of the casket, while a half-couch casket spray covers the closed portion of a half open casket.

    Cross – A T-shaped base covered with flowers, foliage, moss or ribbon. The design's center usually has a swag of fresh flowers.

    Easel Spray – A floral composition (without a container) designed to be placed on a tripod stand. The design is usually constructed in a caged floral foam base to keep the flowers fresh.

    Fireside Basket – A low-handled wicker basket containing a floral composition.

    Heart – A set piece in the shape of a heart, which can be filled solid with flowers or have an "outline" of the shape with an open center. The shape is often covered with flowers, foliage or fabric and accented with a cluster of flowers. This design is usually sent by a relative or family member to symbolize their love.

    Inside Piece – A general term used to describe smaller floral tributes placed inside the casket. Examples of inside pieces include nosegays, satin crosses, satin pillows, satin hearts and hinge sprays.

    Pillow – A shaped rectangular design with flowers, foliage and/or moss tightly clustered over the plastic foam surface. A swag of fresh flowers often accents the rectangular shape. The design symbolizes the beauty of eternal rest.

    Rosary – A Catholic symbol of faith. Individual flowers are secured on a pre-made rosary form. The flowers are used in place of the beads on a regular rosary. It is usually displayed inside the casket.

    Set Piece – A predetermined shape covered or accented in fresh flowers and/or foliage. There are many regional interpretations of set pieces including a clock, broken wheel, gates ajar, Jesus called or a Bible.

    Sheath – A gathering of materials (often wheat or rye) tied at a central binding point. The sheath is often accented with a cluster of fresh flowers. It can be placed inside the casket or on the grave. Dried grains are used as a symbol of a fruitful, productive life.

    Spray – A one-sided composition of fresh flowers and materials. The back side of the design is flat for ease of display on the casket, easel or wall.

    Vase Arrangement – A floral composition created in a container that holds water to keep flowers fresh. Often utility containers are used, allowing the designer to place the maximum value of the design in the flowers.

    Wreath – A circular shape of fresh flowers, foliage, moss, vines or ribbon accented with a swag of fresh flowers. The circular shape symbolizes eternal life.

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