The other day, my husband had occasion to travel into the city to conduct business. When he returned, he came bearing small gifts for the children. How excited they were! I knew that he intended to surprise them with some small treasures, but was entirely surprised when he had a “treasure” for me as well – a lovely bouquet of hot house flowers!

What a joy to see those lovely blossoms upon my table, and how much of spring and sunshine they have lent to this otherwise cold and grey week!

Since it has been some time since I had flowers in the house, and I of course wish them to last as long as possible, I looked in my volume of Mrs. Loudon’s book in order to consult her rules for preserving cut flowers as long as possible.

In her “Letter III”, I found the information I was searching for:

To Preserve Flowers a Long Time

As you are fond of having flowers in your room, and as your present garden is so far from your house, you will perhaps be glad to know how to preserve cut flowers as long as possible. The most simple rules are, not to put too many flowers in a glass, to change the water every morning, and to remove every decayed leaf as soon as it appears, cutting off the end of the stems occasionally, as soon as they show any symptoms of decay.

A more efficacious way, however, is to put nitrate of soda or nitrate of potash (saltpetre) in powder into the water; as about as much as can be easily taken up between the forefinger and the thumb, put into the glass every time the water is changed, will preserve cut flowers in all their beauty for above a fortnight. Camphor in powder has nearly the same effect.

Mrs. Loudon

Nitrate of soda is not difficult nor expensive to obtain, and a very little goes a long way.

A fortnight of brightness and beauty on my table will be a joy indeed, and I intend to carefully follow Mrs. Loudon’s advice, having found so much of her other botanical wisdom to be invaluable!

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