Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

This is from a book I read called Tuinieren Door de Jaren Heen (I can’t find the English title for this! ) by A. Huxley and M. Michael.

In England between 1695 and 1699 there was a tax on glass objects. In 1746 it was re-instated, but at that time mostly for glass plates and windows. In 1810 the tax on windows was raised, and in 1812 the tax for all glass objects was raised so much that production began to slow down. Then the tax was slowly lowered again, until the entire tax ended in 1845. because of the rarity of large parts of glass and the high price of it, it was really in demand with the upper classes, who showed off their riches by building enormous glass greenhouses and winter gardens, which were greenhouses that looked like gardens and would protect plants and flowers from cold weather, so you could enjoy them even in winter.
Undoubtedly, the removal of the glass tax had something to do with the building of the Crystal Palace in 1851, which was at the time the largest glass construction ever build.

Dahlia’s were a very popular flower in the nineteenth century:, from 1813 on it was the most important flower for distributors, in 1830 there were 1500 varieties. Of course this fragile flower had to be preserved carefully, so protective cases were invented to protect the flowers from rain. Often these were very luxurious and decorated cases which could be placed over the flower.
Many other flowers got cases as well, or were protected by glass cases. The Victorians liked showy, fragile flowers like Dahlia’s and Lillies, flowers that required a lot of care and money to display to the best of their ability.

Here are a bunch of pictures from the book! Victorian lawnmowing:

A greenhouse or large case build against the window, which was very fashionable

A Wardian case, in which ferns were grown, and which was kept for decoration.

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It would go too far to describe the entire history of gardening in the Nineteenth Century, so I’ll just give you some tidbits:

Wardian Case: The Wardian case was invented by Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, in 1829. By accident he found out that his ferns grew very well in bottles, and he developed this idea to a larger case to hold full-grown flowers. This meant a great increase in the amount of flowers available in Europe. It became easier to import flowers because they were encased in a constant climate and did not suffer from the change of air and temperature while they were transported, and it was easier to keep exotic flowers alive during winter.

(Image from Wikipedia.)

Lawnmower: The lawnmower was invented in the first half of the Nineteenth Century, and was inproved quickly from a large and difficult machine to something that could be used by hand, by everybody. (Of course, women would not mow lawns.) The invention of the lawnmower caused a big rise in lawns in garden design around 1840, where before mostly flower arrangements and grit were fashionable.

Using flowers in interior design: Of course the Victorians were keen to find new ways to decorate the interior. Flowers were increasingly used in the Nineteenth century, not just as a bouquet but arranged as large ornaments. Here are some images from the book “The Victorian Flower Garden” by Jennifer Davies.


A popular pastime in the Nineteenth Century: an organized fern hunt. Found ferns could be added to ones fern collection, which was immensely popular.

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Communication was a bussiness one should go about very carefully in the Victorian Era, something you might be aware of it you played the Victorian etiquette game I linked you to earlier. Here are some more ways to let people know what you mean without offending them, if you find yourself all of a sudden in the nineteenth century.

Communicating with flowers: Did you know you shouldn’t give your love a yellow rose? It might be seen as a sign of jealousy. The language of flowers is very delicate, because you want to pick the absolute right flower to convey your message. Here is a Livejournal group that can tell you more.

Want to tell your beaux to not flirt with that woman, without letting everyone know? It’s as easy as fanning yourself with your left hand. I think it’s a pretty hard language to learn, but who knows, it might be worth it: The language of the fan.

Calling cards are both communication, and not really communication. Leaving a calling card will show your politeness and that you’re aware of the social mores, without having to actually talk to anyone. Perfect, I’d say. There’s quite some etiquette surrounding calling cards, you can find out more here and here.
victorian calling card
Don’t forget, if someone leaves you a calling card, you are obliged to go over and return the favour, or you might find yourself to be the subject of quite some gossip!

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