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.
Having considered, in my last communication, the preliminaries which should be observed by those who expect success in the art of making floral ornaments, I now come to the more practical part of the subject, namely, the making or putting together of the bouquet.
And first, of the hand bouquet. As I have already observed, the hand bouquet should not exceed eight inches in diameter, and if for an ordinary occasion, the flowers may be gathered without regard to color; but for a bridal bouquet white flowers should predominate, although Violets, Mignonette, and Heliotropes may be added for perfume. For an ordinary boquet, six or more large flowers are requisite, giving the preference to Camellias and Roses. The Camellias should be cut off close to the calyx of the flower, and an artificial stem provided for it, either by a wire bent as shown in fig. 1, which is thrust down through the center of the flower, between the petals, so as to be entirely concealed, or else by passing the wire laterally through the upper part of the calyx and the lower part of the petals, as in fig. 2. In the latter case the two ends of the wire should be bent down and twined together. The Camellia is also sometimes cut off with a small portion of the stem, and tied to a small stick or twig. Be very careful in handling the Camellias, as the slightest bruise will impair their beauty. The Roses can either be cut with long stems or tied to supports. The smaller flowers should be arranged in very small bunches, or singly, and also tied to twigs or whisk.
If the bouquet is of the pyramidal form, it should be made on a strong stick, as in fig-4, commencing at the top with the smaller flowers, and gradually widening at the base with the larger, taking care to assort the colors so as to make as much contrast as possible, and also to fill in the interstices between the larger flowers with the smaller.
If the bouquet is flat, as shown in fig. 3, it is not absolutely necessary to have a strong stick in the center, but I would recommend it on account of its advantages in preserving a symmetrical form. Begin with a Camellia or Rose for the center, then a circle of small flowers, then say four or more Roses or Camellias disposed around the center, and then another circle of small flowers; and then, if the bouquet is not large enough, another row of Camellias or Roses, and a few more small flowers, finishing with a circle of Rose or Oak-leaf Geranium leaves tied singly to whisk straws, and some Arbor Vitae, Cedar, or other evergreen, below all To preserve a flat or oval surface to a bouquet, be careful not to tie the stems or twigs too high up on the center stick, for in that case the flowers would face outward, as in a pyramidal bouquet, instead of upward. If you wish a bouquet to be kept for a long time, the interstices between the twigs or stems should be filled with moss, evergreen, or anything that will retain moisture.
It will add much to the grace and beauty of the bouquet to introduce skillfully some handsome green foliage to break the monotonous effect, and some of the smallest and choicest flowers should be allowed to project beyond the surface of the bouquet.
Large bouquets, or pyramids, for table ornaments, are generally made on a frame-work of evergreen. For this purpose, take a number of branches of Cedar, Hemlock, or other evergreen, and bind them in a kind of sheaf, with strong twine, commencing at the top. After it is properly secured, trim off the stems at the base with a knife, so as to be perfectly even, and with a pair of scissors or shears clip the top so as to form a perfect cone. The flowers are to be inserted into this.
Fig. 6 represents a very complete apparatus for preserving flowers in water, and at the same time arranging them into the proper form for a table ornament It is composed of a number of circular tin vessels, one over another, and diminishing in size from the base up, forming a cone. These vessels are filled with water, and the stems of the flowers inserted into them.
Fig. 7 is a graceful design for a wire basket, to be lined with moss. It is of the shape called by the ladies "gipsy," and the effect of it when filled with flowers is far more graceful than those of a more formal and rigid pattern. A wire basket for moss should have a wooden base, and after the sides are lined with, moss, the basket should be filled with wet or damp sand, which should be covered neatly with most, taking care that the surface is oval, so as to display the flowers to advantage. The stems of the flowers should be inserted in holes made with a sharp stick in the sand. The choicest and smallest flowers should be used to cover the handle.
Fig. 5 represents a table ornament of simple construction, but of graceful design. Take a large-sized flower-pot, of say from fourteen to eighteen inches diameter, and cover its sides with sheets of moss, secured by passing strong black linen thread around it This should be mounted on a wooden base formed of two square blocks of wood one smaller than the other, surmounted by a circular or cylindrical piece of wood. In the upper end of the latter should be a wooden or iron peg or bolt, which should pass up through the circular hole in the bottom of the flower-pot, to keep it in its proper place. On the upper edge of the flower-pot, place a rim formed of a band of hay two or three inches in diameter, either twisted or tied around with twine. This and the wooden base should also be covered with moss. The pyramid of flowers may be made on a framework of evergreen, as just directed, or the apparatus fig. 6 may be used. Festoons on the sides would add greatly to the beauty of this design, and should be formed on pieces of hoop or wire.
They should be large in the middle, and gradually diminish at both ends.
I have thus, Mr. Editor, endeavored, huriedly, and briefly as possible, to describe, for the benefit of my amateur friends, the process of making bouquets and floral designs, and hope that I have succeeded at least in affording them some assistance.