This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The growing taste for cut flowers is commendable. Thousands who could never be brought face to face with nature, are introduced in this way, and many have enjoyment who never thought of the pleasure a plant gives growing in the ground, and which has been made to grow under earnest hands and the soft influence of loving eyes. There is much amusement at the vulgar taste which makes sailing vessels, birds, and household furniture out of flowers. Correct taste would have them arranged merely as cut flowers; in bunches or baskets, in vases or other vessels.
We believe that flowers themselves can be made to ornament other things, without being forced to represent the things themselves. And the good people who argue in this way are undoubtedly correct. Yet we must not forget that all good things have to grow. There must be a beginning to all things; and the love of flowers in ungainly ornaments though it be a vulgar love, is a good beginning. "We get the love first, and the more tasteful love will grow. For this reason we look with some charity on the curious devices seen at marriages, funerals, and horticultural exhibitions, and do not deride them as some do. We hope the florists will have good success in this business, and that every home will be decorated with cut flowers the coming season. We would have them intelligently used of course; but at any rate let them be used.
It is however a misfortune that the rage for cut flowers seems to interfere somewhat with the nice greenhouse collections people once loved to have. Now we find little else but Geraniums, Bouvardias, Heliotropes, Mignonettes, Carnations, Tea Roses, Callas, Camellias, Azaleas, and a few other well known things, that do for cutting. The beautiful Ericas about which Mr. Fyfe recently wrote, and the other interesting Winter-flowering things from the Cape of Good Hope and Australia, which in the past made the Winter greenhouse so very enjoyable, are now seldom seen. This is the dark side of the cut flower era. It is to be hoped it will improve in this respect.
Coming from greenhouses to mere room plants, we think there is a much greater improvement manifested in these the few past years than ever before. There are few houses now of any pretension to taste and elegance that do not provide for the window plants. The knowledge that it is fumes of illuminating gas that injures them more than any thing else, has led to various contrivances to shut off the atmosphere of the plant cabinets from that of the living rooms, and there is little left to insure success than watchfulness. Insects have to be looked after; the plants washed occasionally; the earth never over-watered, nor never kept too dry. These with all the sun light possible, make nearly all that is required for successful window culture.