Small Gardens

Table Decoration And Flowers In Season

Graceful arrangement--How to manage thick-skinned stems--Colour-schemes--Bad colours for artificial light--Preserving and resuscitating--Table of flowers in season. The fashion of decorating tables to the extent now done is of comparatively recent date. When the duties

were taken off the importation of foreign flowers, they became so much lower in price that the great middle-class could afford to buy some even in mid-winter. In the British Isles themselves, too, the carriage of flowers is much cheaper and more expeditious, though there is plenty of room for improvement still in that respect. =The manner of arranging= them has much altered, for, instead of cramming a clumsy vase to its utmost limits with a dozen different flowers of as many shades, only one, two, or at most three, kinds are now used, and these are set out in as =graceful and airy= a manner as possible. =Plain glass vases=, as a rule, show the blossoms off best, though pale green or ruby occasionally looks very well. The water need not be changed every day in all cases; it depends on the flower; wall-flowers, for instance, turn the water putrid very soon, while it keeps fresh much longer where roses are concerned. =The vases should, however, be filled up once a day=, as the stems suck up moisture rapidly. Hard-wooded flower stalks should receive special attention, or they will droop directly. =STEM-SPLITTING.= Lilac, when cut and placed in water will absorb no more moisture than a lead pencil, unless the stems are split up; this can be done either with a hammer or a knife or both. As many leaves as possible should be left on the stems, for when under water they largely help to make the blossoms last well; it is only where the stalks are nearly leafless that the splitting and peeling is necessary. =Maidenhair fern may be made to last= much longer if the end of the black, wiry stem is hammered for about an inch up. It must not be forgotten that =cutting from a plant strengthens it=, and induces it to continue sending up flower-stalks. People often seem chary of cutting their roses with any length of stem, I suppose because it has leaves and shoots all the way up, but this is an error; they should be cut with about eight or ten inches of stalk; pansies and violas also look much more natural when a portion of the shoot is cut along with each blossom. =BY PARCEL POST.= On hot summer days, when flowers are to be sent by post, =they should be picked early in the morning=, several hours before they are to be sent off, and placed in bowls of water; then, if they are packed close together in tin, wood, or even card-board boxes they will arrive quite fresh at their destination, where otherwise they would be hopelessly faded. When a box of flowers is received, the contents should be put =in luke-warm water= in a dim light for an hour or so; they can then be re-arranged in the vases they are intended to occupy. =BLUE--A DAYLIGHT COLOUR.= Some colours respond to artificial light much better than others. =Most shades of blue are not suitable for decorating dinner tables=, because they turn almost brown, or at best a dull mauve. In choosing violets, therefore, for evening wear, it will be found that the blossoms which have thin, rather washed-out petals of the lightest purple will look best, the full blue not being nearly so effective. =For luncheon=, an arrangement of purple clematis in vases on the palest pink ground is lovely, but does not look quite so well by gas-light, though here again if the least velvety flowers are chosen for evening, a good effect can be obtained. =Yellow is a splendid evening colour=, but must be bright, or it will look merely cream. A dining-room panelled in light oak, adorned with yellow marguerites alone, is very pleasing to the eye. In the spring, =laburnum makes a novel dressing for a dining-table=; care, however, must be exercised with this flower, as the pods are poisonous. Blue also looks well with brown in the day-time; larkspurs, forget-me-nots, plumbago, campanulas, nemophilla, etc., all look very well. We know how artistic blue porcelain is on oak shelves, and, if the flowers have a white eye or are veined with white, the effect is somewhat the same. =Scarlet is a good gas or electric light colour=, but it must be used judiciously, and as a rule only be mixed with white, just as the ladies at a regimental ball are generally only allowed to robe themselves in this pure shade. =SIMPLICITY.= Now-a-days the decorations are rarely made so high that one cannot see the other side of the table. Though this arrangement might occasionally be useful in hiding the face of an enemy, on the whole it was found inconvenient; accordingly they have climbed down; the "bazaar-stall" fashion is also disappearing, and flat table-centres are used instead, or none at all. Simplicity is the great cry now, and though of course it may be costly, a charming effect is obtained with fewer flowers than was formerly considered correct, and is moreover easily imitated by an artistic eye in less expensive blossoms. Some of the flowers to be had in each respective season are enumerated on p. 86. It will be noticed that where plenty of out-door blossoms are to be had, the hot-house varieties are omitted. TABLE OF NATURAL AND FORCED FLOWERS FOR EACH MONTH. JANUARY. Natural. Christmas rose. Yellow jasmine. Forced. Carnations. Eucharis. Gardenias. Poinsettias. Tuberoses. Late chrysanthemums. Roman hyacinths. Odontoglossum (orchid). Tulips. Violet, single and double. Narcissus. FEBRUARY. Natural. Christmas roses. Yellow jasmine. Daphne. Snowdrops. Forced. White lilac. Carnation. Hyacinths. Tulips. Geraniums. Marguerites. Cattleya (orchid). Camellias. Roses. Dicentra. Narcissus. MARCH. Natural. Violets. Early narcissus. Almond blossom. Cowslips. Polyanthus. Forced. Freesias. Lily of the valley. Arums. Narcissus. Mauve lilac. Anemones. Lilium Harrisii. " longiflorum. Roses. Azaleas. APRIL. Natural. Daffodils. Wallflowers. Forget-me-not. Tulips. Alyssum. Anemones. Doronicums. Forced. Sweet peas. Roses. Carnations. Arums. Lilies of the valley. Alliums. Acacia. Epacris. MAY. Natural. Laburnum. Poet's eye narcissus. Doronicums. Trollius. Iris. Parrot tulips. Lilies of the valley. Syringa. Lilac. Ranunculus. Forced. Arums. Ixias. Gladiolus (scarlet and white). JUNE. Natural. Sweet peas. Roses. Pinks. Pyrethrums (single). Larkspurs. Canterbury bells. Penstemons. Lilies. Columbines. Flag iris and other iris. JULY. Natural. Clematis. Montbretias. St. John's wort. Campanulas. Poppies (to be picked in the bud). Carnations. Cornflowers. Indian pinks. Erigeron (like an early Michaelmas daisy). Gladiolus. AUGUST. Natural. Clematis. Coreopsis. Gaillardias. Snapdragons. Sunflowers. Gladiolus. Dahlias. Roses. Carnations. SEPTEMBER. Natural. Michaelmas daisies. Pinks. Chrysanthemums. Lilies. Sunflowers. Japanese anemones. Roses. Forced. Tuberoses. Cattleyas. Eucharis. Gardenias. OCTOBER. Natural. Michaelmas daisies. Chrysanthemums. Physalis (or Cape gooseberry). Violets. Single Marigolds. Forced. Salvias. Marguerites. Tuberoses. Eucharis. Odontoglossum. Cattleya. Bouvardia. Roses. Carnations. NOVEMBER. Natural. Michaelmas daisies. Chrysanthemums. The gladwin iris (berries). Violets. Forced. Eucharis. Geraniums. Marguerites. Salvias. Carnations. Chrysanthemums. Odontoglossum. Cattleya. Bouvardia. Camellias. DECEMBER. Natural. Yellow jasmine. Christmas roses. Forced. Salvias. Cypripediums. Violets. Poinsettias. Geraniums. Chrysanthemums. Lilies of the valley. Roman hyacinths. Coelogyne (orchid). Narcissus in variety. =The cost of a flower is always in proportion to its blooming time.= If lilies of the valley are wanted in August, they must be paid for heavily, as retarded bulbs (those which have been kept in ice) are used to produce them.

Previous: Window Boxes
Next: The Propagation Of Plants

Add to Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon

Add to Informational Site Network