When my father passed away in 2004, our church friends gave us a gift certificate for a tree in his memory. We chose this Chanticleer Pear. It's a permanent reminder of him and a thoughtful way for those who chose to honor his memory.
I don't know if you've sent flowers to a funeral service recently, but they are very expensive. Most often they are beautiful but they are either put upon the grave, sent to a nursing home, or occasionally taken home by a family member. Still - they are fleeting.
In recent years, other options have become popular: stone statues (often angels), fruit baskets and house plants are often sent to the service.
If you have friends who will be receiving sympathy remembrances, and if they are gardeners, I suggest a gift certificate at a local nursery. If you use the same amount you would have spent at a florist, it will be a substantial offering.
In addition, it will live in their yard as a sweet reminder of the person they have lost.
Today, we will be giving our friends a gift certificate from Sunnyfield Nursery for our remembrance of his father/her father-in-law.
Sunnyfield is under new owners and right now they have a selection of beautiful hydrangea bushes and other trees and bushes. I'm sure our friends can find something that suits their taste and location. At this sad time, I hope looking forward to planting something in memory of this good old farmer will bring a memory of the years he tended the soil.