Saturday 11 February 2012

Bringing the spring indoors

In war-time more than any other time we need
the brightness of flowers around us,
especially spring flowers with their promise of
new hope and new life.
No doubt you are not content to buy an odd bunch of flowers 
and stick them haphazardly around the room.
(Perish the thought!)

What an opportunity spring flowers give us
of finding new arrangements that enchant the eye 
and cheer the spirit.
Get four or five common brown oven-ware dishes,
(Bother - I only have the superior sort)
fill them with stones and completely
cover them with freshly picked moss.
These make the foundations which you can use
time after time.
(This is fortunate as our lawn is entirely moss now.)

Each is like a round green cushion which
you can embroider with different colour flowers
like some beautiful piece of stitchery.
one can be patterned with purple and yellow crocus,
another with scillas or chionodoxa,
another with primroses and violets.
Over the top of some of your cushions
gently arch a spray of catkins.

A narrow drift of spring flowers
along the top of a sideboard or bookcase
is another novelty.
Begin with a fairly large open vase
holding branches of blackthorn, catkins
and sturdy outdoor daffodils.
Graduate this to four of five shallow dishes
containing shorter stemmed flowers like
hyacinths, or pheasant eye narcissus;
thence to polyanthus and other small blooms.
( I would like to use the word thence more often.)

A basket of flowers for the dinner or
luncheon table is a refreshing idea.
Stack a plain wicker basket with mimosa, anemones,
a bit of early lilac and a few short headed tulips.
Never be afraid to try out different flowers and shrubs together.
It's fashionable to mix them.
Tulips and flowering-currant are lovely together
in a plain pottery jar;
pink prunus with palm in a ginger-jar.
A round bowl is lovely massed with lilies of the valley
or white violets with a posy of purple violets in the centre.

Grape hyacinths are beautifully set off by a surround
of cabbage leaves. Yes - cabbage leaves!
Their blue green is perfect with the flowers.
Daffodils and their foliage look superb
in a copper urn with the spout facing the wall.
Pewter and zinc are just right for the dancing daffodils too.
That Victorian silver cake basket your mother gave you -
(an oversight on my mother's part I'm sure)
it makes a lovely centre-piece for the dining room table
crammed with tiny spring flowers, edged,
if you wish, with a prim lace d'oyley!

There is more, but I think this is plenty to be going on with.
The full article may be found in the April 1940 issue of

Available at all good stationers.
Get thee thence.


  1. I think your comments are working well Lucille. It was just that one of them had been posted to the previous entry. Thank you for both of them. I agree the water does look very glossy - a bit like that housewife!

  2. Actually there are some quite good ideas there - like your added comments!

  3. Lucille, I'm willing to share with you the Victorian silver cake basket my mother didn't give me (either) so that the ladies down at the flower-arranging club won't laugh at you behind your back.

  4. Thanks Mise and you can have some of my moss because I know Ireland is running short.

  5. All that and your lippie on in time for breakfast ...

  6. Oh my. I feel dreadful now about my flowers stuck haphazardly round the room.

    And I don't have a luncheon table either. Or luncheon, come to that....

    Mind you, some nice ideas in there. It always amazes me how much domestic detail is given in such books, coming from the generation that couldn't bring itself to tell its children the facts of life in any useful detail!

  7. Oh, what a lovely post! Thank you! (enjoyed your comments v much too!) Jo x

  8. D'oyley? Is that really the authentic spelling? I've always spelled it, when I've thought of it at all, 'doily'.
    I'm off now to search for all the requirements of proper flower arranging...not.