This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A correspondent of the Gardner's Chronicle relates how successful he was in keeping fresh flowers for a long time. " About six weeks ago, and when flowers were not so plentiful as they are now, my wife had some choice greenhouse flowers, which she was anxious to preserve, and she adopted the following plan, which proved to be a great success: She arranged them in a vase with a little water, and placed them under a glass shade; after an absence from home of eight days, she was delighted to find them as fresh and as beautiful as when she left them. By this method the beauty of the flower is preserved for a very long time, opportunities are afforded for a display of taste in their arrangement, and the result is always gratify. ing. I have now on my table two vases under glass shades which are really elegant ornaments, and which, beautiful as many of the wax flowers are, puts them quite in the shade. One vase contains crimson and white Azaleas, dark blue Cineraria, and Maiden-hair Fern; the other contains three roses, viz., Gloire de Dijon, Priveer's Mary of Cambridge, and Triomphe d'A1encon, with Maiden-hair Fern, and they are the admiration of everyone.
The Maiden-hair Fern is as fresh, at the end of a fortnight, thus preserved, as when it was first put in.
The idea is a good one, and perhaps the duration of blooming might be still further prolonged by putting the stem of the flowers in white sand, wet, instead of water only.
Cut flowers in vases will keep much longer if the vases are filled with white sand, and with water enough barely to cover it, or rather to keep it thoroughly wet. Water by itself rots the stems, so that they lose the power of drawing up moisture; but this does not occur so readily where they are thrust into wet sand. The sand should be washed by having water poured on it and drained off before use; otherwise, the salt which all sea sand con-tains will prove injurious. As wet sand is an unhandy thing to put into vases, it is well to have it washed and dry beforehand.
In a letter to the French Society Of Horticulture, a chemist, M. Fremont, mentions that a good way of preserving cut flowers in a state of freshness is to dissolve sal-ammoniac, or chlorhydrate of ammonia, with the water in which the stems are put, in the proportion of five grammes per liter of water. They will thus often be kept fresh for a fortnight. The experiment is one which can be easily made.