By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Palms are often exchanged with family members and used to decorate homes and grave sites. The ancient art of palm weaving isn’t as popular as it once was.

Betty Ann’s Italian Market Florists near 9th and Christian Streets is a family run shop, and palms are always a big part of what they do this time of year. Betty Ann Mongelluzzo started creating intricate designs with palms at age nine, 60 years ago.

“Try and make it into a basket weave. Two pieces of palm and we make it into a long shape, we call them bananas. The other item we do is called an artichoke. When we weave it back and forth, it becomes a pyramid.”

They also decorate crosses and hearts. The finished products are very popular with locals but she says they also ship thousands of them to churches and customers as far away as Oregon.

“People see us on the web and they’ll call.”

She says they start weaving around Ash Wednesday and the cold, wet weather this year has helped keep the palms fresh.

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