Sunday, 29 July 2018

Cut Flowers -1939 cut flower hints for keeping winter flowers

It is well known flowers are at their best on show in the garden, but when cut and placed in vases; their show fades with dropping petals or wilting stems. For flowers that drop their petals the best remedy is to sweep them up as they fall, flowers such as Larkspur is an example whose petals drop rapidly.  In many other cases a few simple precautions taken when picking the flowers will help prolong the life of the average cut flower.

Shrubs and hard-wooded plants, such as roses, and lilacs, should have one to two inches of their stems smashed by a hammer so that the water may be sucked up through the stems to help preserve the blooms longer. Another method of skinning the stems of their bark is useful but not as good as smashing the stems. 

Flowers such as Dahlia, Poppy, and others, have sap which evaporates fast when cut, they will remain fresh if the stems are singed with a candle flame for a few minutes after cutting. If this hint is followed, it is known that poppies, if picked in the bud, will open and remain in blood for three or four days.

A lesser known fact about cut flowers is that yellow and white flowers last a lot longer in water than those which are red.

Some more hints from the 1939 to make cut flowers last longer:

When cutting, be sure to use a special cutting shears, or a sharp knife, and cut at a slant to get the largest absorbing areas. This also prevents the stem from lying flat on the base of the bowl, blocking absorption.

Stand cut flowers in a bucket of water, right to the flower heads, in a cool, draught-free room. Never leave the foliage in the water when arranged, as they decay and will pollute the water.

Cut winter flowers:

Anemones - Add half cup vinegar to two cups of water.
Aquilegias - Five drops of peppermint oil to one pint of water.
Carnations - Cool water up to the flower heads. Do not submerge blossoms.
Daffodils - All like small quantities of water. Arrange in no more than one inch of water.
Delphiniums - One tablespoon alcohol to one pint of water.
Violets and Violas - Bunch. Submerge for two hours after picking, then place in container filled with iced water.
Tulips - Roll in wet newspaper to keep the stems straight. Place in cold water up to flower heads.
Forget-me-nots - Plunge into hot then cold water - add eight drops for alcohol to one pine of water.
Sweet Peas - As for forget-me-nots.
Gypsophila - One teaspoon of alcohol to one pint of water.
Iris - Three drops of peppermint oil to one quart of water.
Larkspur - One tablespoon alcohol to one pint of water.
Poinsettias - Burn ends of stems - one handful of rock salt to two quarts of water.
Lilies - One cup of vinegar to two quarts of water.
Hyacinths - Squeeze substance from end of stems immediately after picking. Plunge into very cold water.

Lilacs - Never pull the green leaf off near the flower head, as it is the water-conductor to the bloom.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Dianthus - Pinks

Old-fashioned garden pinks were the first choice for perfume for many cottage garden lovers. John Parkinson, a 17th-centruy author of the first illustrated book on ornamental plants, could hardly find the words to express his admiration:

"What shall I say to the Queen of delight and of flowers, Carnations and Gillyflowers, whose bravery, variety and sweet smell, tyeth every one’s affection?”

Gillyflower is the old name for members of the Dianthus family, driven from the French giro flier - a clove tree. Many of the old-fashioned pinks were clove scented, the famous ‘sops-in-wine’ variety, which has single, maroon flowers with white markings, was grown around taverns and alehouses so that the petals could be used to flavour the liquor.

Pinks are still the favourites of most cottage gardeners, and few plants have their qualities of ‘bravery’ (hardiness), compactness, perfume, and show of pretty flowers from early to midsummer. Set out new plants in spring, 12 in (30cm) apart, and water them well. Pinks like a sunny position in well-drained soil, and will benefit rom a top dressing of gravel to prevent the bases of the plants from coming into contact with damp soil. You can take cuttings after the flowers have finished - choose strong shoots and cut them off close to the main stem. In late summer, remove the old flower stems and apply a high-potash fertiliser.

A traditional recipe for Pinks potpourri:

1 cup rose petals
1/2 cup petals from pinks
1/4 cup each of marjoram and rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon ground cloves. 
Mix thoroughly and place in china bowls or specially made potpourri containers.  

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Laundry - 1939

In a late 1938 an article on doing laundry appeared in a newspaper article. Even though it is a year earlier than 1939 some of the advice is still useful for the following year and even in today’s modern world.

The article begins with telling the wise housewife that all fabric vary and must be washed to the fabric standards. It goes on to then say the start of the laundry is to begin by sorting the clothes into various piles. Colour and fabric are to be taken in consideration then that is followed with sorting the very soiled garments from the not so soiled garments. The article recommends not washing very dirty items with the not so dirty items.

Once the items are sorted, the article then says to look out for items of clothing the need mending and to do the repairs before laundering. This is recommended because any small holes obviously can tear into bigger holes during the washing. 

The following list of how to do the laundry continues in the article:

- The main rules to remember are to keep white and coloured clothes separate.
-Finer delicates should be washed separately and carefully.
- Soaking clothes is next to sorting. But use soaking in moderation. Woollens and silks should never be soaked.
-Next is rising. Which should be done in clean water until every scrap of soap is rinsed out. 
- Add Blue in the last rinsing water for white clothes.

The article also then goes on to say to take advantage of warmer weather. A clear, sunny day with a good breeze is ideal for blankets and curtains. Blankets should be washed early on a fine windy day. Blankets should not be washed for too long to prevent shrink.  The blankets should always be squeezed, not wrung.

To hang blankets, fold them in half, and peg the two edges a few inches over a taunt clothes line. Shake and turn during drying. 

On small clothing items:
The article says to use bran water - Make it by using half a pint of bran to two quarts water. Put in a pan, heat to boiling point, and simmer for half an hour. Strain, and use both for washing and rinsing. Bran water is used when it’s uncertain about the colour fastness of the item.

The article then goes on to give advice about how to wash gloves and stockings.

It’s an interesting article while dated in some aspects it has good advice in others. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.