Sunday, June 1, 2014

Church Flowers for Pentecost


Next Sunday (June 8, 2014) is Pentecost. The liturgical color is red.

It is important to bear in mind that the liturgical color rules apply to the vestments and altar frontal.  There is no requirement that the flowers conform to the liturgical color.  Rather, the flower arranger must think of how the flowers will look with the vestments and frontal.  Sometimes a contrasting bloom might be more effective.

Moreover, since not all reds are the same, the best thing is to talk to the sacristan and learn exactly which vestment and frontal will be used, then plan the flowers accordingly -- whether you want to use red or a contrasting color.

My favorite church flower expert, Katharine Morrison McClinton, advises that Pentecost "calls for flame-colored flowers."  She adds, "In the Middle Ages a dove was let down from the roof of the church and balls of fire and roses were dropped [.]"

Morrison goes on to say, "The altar frontal is red and the flowers must harmonize with this.  Since it is difficult to exactly match reds and since red is often lost in the darkness of the sanctuary, it often helps to mix the red with pink or magenta to cut up the color and make it carry better."

Another church flower book has this list of flowers suitable for church arrangement that are available in red:
Amaryllis
Anemone
Camellia
Canna
Carnation
Chrysanthemum
Dahlia
Day Lily
Garden pink
Geranium
Peony
Petunia
Poinsettia
Ranunculus
Rhodendron
Rose
Snapdragon
Sweet William
Tulip
Zinnia

If you want to follow Morrison's idea of mixing pink with red, see the post Pink Flowers for Church Decoration for a list.

Image:  Flaming Parrot tulip.  Photograph by Pierre-Selim Huard.  From Wikimedia Commons.  Some rights reserved.  (Click for license.)

Text:
McClinton, Katharine Morrison; Flower Arrangement in the Church, Morehouse-Gorham Co. (New York, 1958) pp. 96-97.

Patteson-Knight, Francis and St. Claire, Margaret McReynolds; Arranging Flowers for the Sanctuary, Harper & Brothers (New York, 1961), p. 39.)

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