Quite a remark-able "sign of the times" is the extreme and growing love of flowers. It is evidenced, not only in the increasing number of flower - shops, but in the fact that every greengrocer's window is also packed with blossoms. Visitors from America are struck with the beauty of the great moist without injury to the outer wooden receptacle baskets filled with flowers that stand at so many of the street corners.
To have growing plants in our sitting-rooms, and something that will hold at least a pot of ferns, or the ever-useful palm, which, with little trouble and attention, will keep fresh and green all the year round, is beginning to be considered essential. Very often plants are merely put in some pretty china, pottery, or metal pot, and stood on a table or window-sill. But the effect of plants placed at a height is so good that the pot-stand is much in demand. Plants show to far greater advantage when raised on a level with the eye by this means.
The stands vary very greatly in style, decoration, and price. Although quite a modern innovation, they are frequently made on the lines of furniture of various bygone periods. Sometimes a plant-stand consists of a shaped bowl of wood raised on legs, and with a metal lining; at others it is like a small square table on tall, slender legs, while yet another model is in the form of an apparently solid pedestal of inlaid or painted wood. With the firstnamed type of stand the bowl part may consist of narrow strips of wood, through which glimpses may be caught of a brass pot made to fit it exactly. This is a very inexpensive design, and may be bought in mahogany for under £1. Or to go to the other extreme, one may invest in a beautiful pedestal stand made of kingwood decorated at the edges with ormolu. One such example has a little curio cupboard in the centre, the door of which is painted with a charming pastoral scene in vernis Martin. This will cost over a ten-pound note to procure.
Satinwood to go with drawing-room furniture in the same wood is, of course, also represented, and is found in a pedestal shape narrowing at the base and painted with roses and ribbons. One of the most popular patterns, however, is that evolved from an old mahogany bedpost, and reproductions of these are also now to be had for about 27s. They are supplied with triple legs and ball and claw feet, the wheat ear being a favourite pattern.
Other stands made of onyx can be used for lamps or plants, and sometimes serve for the one purpose in the summer and the other in the winter. They generally have a collar at the base of the table, and above the foot, of ormolu. These are rather ornate, and only suited for a large state or reception-room. The simpler stands not only look better, but serve to show off the plants more satisfactorily.
Some stands in the French style are of gilded wood with a marble top, but although adapted for a room furnished in a similar manner, are generally more suited to a mansion than the average drawing-room.
A jardiniere of inlaid marquetene, which, when filled with conservatory plants, has a charming effect in a drawing-room
Then, for those who like the effect of a number of pots of plants grouped together, there are some delightful jardinieres made of mahogany either decorated or inlaid with other woods.
They can be filled up from the greenhouse with whatever is in season. These jardinieres are not usually made very large, as they would have a clumsy effect, and one of some two feet in width can be had for about £3 3s.
For a room furnished in old oak, however, such a piece of furniture is quite out of place, and here nothing looks more picturesque and lovely than an old brass milk-pan filled with pots and stood on an oak table. One of these brimming over with some large and uncommon varieties of rose-coloured cyclamen looks most beautiful.
Chinese carved stands are generally rather low, and frequently have a Nankin blue pot stood on them. They vary very much in price, according to the carving, but can be had from about £2. The black bog-wood resembling ebony of which they are made can be used in most rooms.