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Victorian Floral Magic

As we think about flower decorations for the holidays, it is interesting to think about the lavish scale of floral art in English Victorian homes.

victorianwoman

Photo: hagner james

Flowers were essential to the decor and lifestyle of the Victorian elite.

As we think about flower decorations for the holidays, it is interesting to think about the lavish scale of floral art in homes of the landed gentry during the Victorian period in England.

Head gardeners in country estates grew thousands of flowering plants in heated glass houses. There was a flower room where the arrangements were constructed.Charcoal kept the water sweet, flowers were inserted into wet sand and moss camouflaged underlying supports.

Using Flowers From Corsages To Dinner Decor

The floral decor was elaborate and flowers were ubiquitous to the Victorian elite’s daily life. Small posies of violets and primroses were made for every breakfast tray, buttonholes for men of the house, flowers for the drawing room, sitting room, hall and lunch table were made early in the morning.  The dining table for dinner was wreathed in ivy and roses with silver bowls containing centerpieces of exotic blooms grown under glass. Corsages of gardenias, Stephanotes and roses were taken to the ladies by their personal maids who then dressed them for dinner.  If there was a special ball, literally tons of flowers and foliage were used to drape stairways and ballrooms.  No occasion was celebrated without the adornment of flowers.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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