Saturday, May 29, 2010

Orange Flowers for Church Decoration

The smallest category in Patteson-Knight and St. Claire's list of "Flowers Suitable for Church Decoration by Color" is that for orange flowers. The list has some surprises like the one for white flowers did. Among them are Butterfly Weed, Tritoma (Kniphofia) and Tithonia.

Butterfly weed, whose official name is asclepias tuberosa, gets its nickname from the fact that butterflies are especially drawn to its color and nectar. Tithonia (bottom image) grows best in Mexico, while Tritoma (also known as Kniphofia) is native to Africa. It is also called "torch lily" because it looks like a torch.

Aside from the three surprises, the orange flowers on the list are: calendula, chrysanthemum, coxcomb, dahlia, gladiolus, lily, ranunculus, rose, tulip, and zinnia.

Though perhaps fewer in type, orange flowers can work very well for decoration of the sanctuary. In fact, the best church flower arrangements I have seen in the past year were comprised of orange and golden flowers.

One display that I really loved featured orange alstromeria (top picture above). Somehow the orange and golden color really brought alive the gold of the candlesticks and other golden items on the altar and contrasted pleasantly with the white of the traditional linen altar cloth.

Orange or gold flowers seem particularly suitable for Corpus Christi, when the color of the vestments and altar frontals is white.  Another church flower book (by McClinton, an Anglican/ Episcopalian) says that "yellow and white or white and gold are the appropriate flowers" for Corpus Christi. She suggests using Shasta daisies, calla lilies, or white and yellow roses.

McClinton, Katherine Morrison, Flower Arrangement in the Church (Morehouse-Gorham Co., New York, 1958), p. 97.
Patteson-Knight, Francis and St. Claire, Margaret McReynolds; Arranging Flowers for the Sanctuary (Harper & Bros., New York, 1961), p. 40.

Top - Alstromeria, from Wikimedia Commons. Some rights reserved.
Bottom - Tithonia, from Wikimedia Commons. Some rights reserved.

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