YOUR DAY with flowers
Mainly for Women By Elspeth
NOW May is upon us and flowers are getting cheaper, let's think a moment on "Flower Decoration." No one will deny that a vase of flowers gives life"—may indeed, be a welcome to a room. Have you ever returned from a holiday to an empty, old house without a vase of flowers in it anywhere? It gives you the shudders.
A man, alone, will often be without flowers. But put a posy of anything from the garden on a table and the room is warm, and cheerful.
Now flower decoration is an art in itself. A beautiful bowl of flowers is the subject of some of our loveliest' paintings. "I could never arrange flowers like that. You need to be an artist, and you want so many different sorts of flowers!"
Granted—but a very interesting book, a new publication, has come my way called "How to do the Flowers" by Constance Spry (Dent 7s. 6d.).
As you know Mrs. Spry is famous for her flower arrangements. Incidentally she is in charge of the flower decorations for the Coronation. The book, which would make a lovely present for a bride, or any "mistress of a household" is not long; it is very informative and includes 25 coloured, and 24 black and white plates of flower arrangements. It is practical. and as Mrs. Spry says, simple materials with a few leaves and grasses or weeds, as the Americans call wild flowers, are all that arc needed to make a picture.
Mrs. Spry demonstrates very simple garden flowers. In one bowl she mixes foxgloves and columbines. These she sets in an old copper jug. The effect is beautiful. She uses nasturtiums on a wall. She has a bowl of sweet-peas, and another of wallflowers. One massed effect is brought about by a mixture of mauve and purple Michaelmas daisies with some wine-coloured porn-porn dahlias and the purple leaves of decorative kale.
Her choice of flowers is as wide as your purse. She uses few exotic or expensive flowers. And one of her loveliest examples is of some full
blown red roses in a delicate silver Georgian cake basket.
A trip into the country at the week-end will bear fruit if your eyes are alert for a shapely twig, or some blossom; or even cow parsley or some wild oats.
It is wise to remember that, except occasionally when one may use a mass of summer flowers, all kinds, all colours, it is as well to stick to one shade at a time—a yellow or a
pink collection, perhaps, or lupins alone. Too many colours tend to make an arrangement "messy." If many flowers are employed, then keep them in groups rather than units.
And don't forget the bowl you are using. In Mrs. Spry's book she uses things from the kitchen as well as from the antique cupboard, and the results are most effective.
Glass containers tend to show up dirty water, stems, and artificial holders. Pottery vases are always effective, especially if distempered in a pale colour. Brass, silver and copper containers are particularly happy, as these have a way of catching the reflection of flowers in them, and so adding to the general picture.
Above all, don't be nervous about "arranged flowers." Try arranging different kinds; try different holders. Have you ever thought of having a wall vase? These can be very effective, especially with trailing species such as nasturtiums and honeysuckle. They are also economical on flowers.
Boat-shaped vases, or sauce boats can make effective vessels. In fact, almost anything that will hold water, or in which a container can be placed. A hollowed-out birch log, or an old highly polished cake tin.
For the mistress of the household this is her great opportunity, her power to bring the beautiful into the humblest of homes, at so small a cost. Some complain that flowers wilt, but the memory of a beautiful vase of flowers may remain long after the flowers themselves have faded. it's worth trying!