Beautiful as roses always look growing amid their natural surroundings, they seem, more than any other flowers, to be spoilt when picked. This is almost invariably because the right kind of vase is not chosen for them.
One often sees them in a little trumpet-shaped vase with a very narrow base, into which their stalks are crammed, and as they need a great deal of water, they begin to droop at once when treated in this way.
There is no doubt that the ideal vase for roses is a bowl of one sort or another, for here they can be arranged in masses, with plenty of foliage, so that they look as natural as possible. The hothouse-grown roses are very difficult to arrange in this fashion, as their heads are apt to be limp and to droop, but the outdoor-grown ones with stiff stalks are quite easy to manage.
The kind of bowl on which one's choice will fall will depend largely on where it is to be placed, and it will also be regulated by considerations of expense. For the table nothing is better than cut glass or silver. In a drawing-room some good designs in plain glass look well, or, for those who are fortunate enough to possess it, old china.
In halls and boudoirs copper and pottery are lovely, and, in fact, these look well in any room, provided it is not furnished in one of such elaborate styles as either the French or the Adams period, with which neither of these are appropriate.
Many women are fond of English cut glass, and very nice bowls can be bought for quite a moderate sum, though those who are prepared to pay more can get exquisite examples at quite extravagant prices. A beautiful bowl was once on view at a well-known china shop made of rock crystal, with a beautiful design of dolphins, and this was priced at £50. An extremely nice cut glass one, however, about eight inches across, which is a very good size for an ordinary table, can be purchased for about half a sovereign. A bowl of the fashionable Chippendale glass - one of the latest revivals - will cost even less, but it is too heavy to be really effective with roses.
A plain glass bowl of this shape is useful for roses. The smaller vase is intended to be filled and placed inside the bowl and thus support the roses in the centre
With regard to the plain glass bowls, a good shape may be picked up at any time, and the best plan is to be always on the look-out for something nice, and not to hesitate to buy it when it is seen, as it is often difficult, if not impossible, to buy another, especially in some of the green glass that comes from Vienna. The shape shown in one of our photographs, wide at the base and narrowing towards the top, is an excellent one, and particularly easy to arrange. The prices of these bowls vary according to where they are bought. The one in the illustration cost rather over a shilling, but the writer has seen the same thing at about 3s. IId. A copper bowl, again, is a " find," and the old ones are far the best.
Much of the various kinds of pottery, especially that which comes from abroad, is porous. It is not, however, on that account to be discarded, as such a bowl filled with roses or other flowers sometimes looks lovely put on a willow-patterned plate, and then the leakage, which is only slight, does not matter. Ideal rose-bowls, are those made of the green Farnham pottery. These are 3s. 6d. for a size about eight inches across, and this includes a perforated top. Great care should be taken in choosing bowls of this description, as they vary very much in colour. Some of them are rather a pale yellowish green, that does not go at all well with foliage. Others, again, are a very beautiful shade. The shape of the bowl shown, with bosses at intervals around it, is perfect. Delightful bowls are frequently found on the glass and pottery stalls at bazaars, and should be looked out for.
In former days, before the various supports which are now in use for flowers had been invented, a rose-bowl always had to be filled with sand, in order to prop up the blossoms. This was not at all satisfactory, as it did not let enough water get to the stalks, and also made the bowl so heavy. Now little wire supports enable one to arrange the flowers in a very light and graceful way, but it is a long and tiresome job to rearrange them, cut the stalks, and give them fresh water. The earthenware slabs pierced with holes are considerably less trouble. A similar thing made of white glass, that is practically invisible in a cut glass bowl, is also very useful. When using this kind of holder, however, care must be taken not to break the vases. In cleaning them the maid very often does not notice the holder, and tips the vase up, so that it falls on the edge.
A rose-bowl in green Farnham potterv, with a perforated cover. Care should be taken to choose a bowl that will harmonise in colour with any variety of rose