TABLE DECORATIONS FOR CHRISTMAS DAY.
THIS is a day on which friends and relations hope to meet; therefore, a few hints on floral decorations suitable for the dinner-table at this season will not be out of place here. I will accordingly give descriptions of two tables, one for those who have plenty of choice flowers, from which to cut, and another for those who may not have such an abundant supply at their command, or who do not care to go to much expense if they have to purchase them.
Table No. 1 we will suppose to be about 12 feet, and table No. 2 about 8 feet long, the width of both being in proportion to their length. As regards the decorations which I shall describe, it does not matter if the ends of the table be rounded, or if the table itself be oval, a form, indeed, which is more effective than a table with square ends. People are not, however, likely to change their tables for the sake of floral decorations; therefore I shall at once turn to table No. 1.
Down the centre I should put three “March stands,” with trumpets rising out of the top tazzas, the centre stand being the highest by some inches; round the edge of the bottom dish of the centre stand I should place mixed varieties of ferns, and four fronds of a golden one, reversed so as to show the gold side; in the dish I should put four large Calla or Arum blooms and four bracts of Poinsettia, and then fill in with white Cape Heaths, Primulas and similar flowers.
Close to the glass stem which supports the upper dish I should place three large bunches of Holly berries, and up the stem twine a spray of a smallleaved Ivy. Bound the edge of the upper tazza I should put fronds of Maiden-hair Fern to droop gracefully over, and through them mix some blooms of scarlet and white Rhodanthe, say two of each. I should next place in the dish four blooms of Eucharis amazonica, four sprigs of scarlet Bouvardias, and two of Holly berries, the latter to rise above the other flowers, close to the base of the trumpet, and the trumpet itself I should finish off with the white flowers of the ‘dwarf Roman Hyacinth, scarlet Begonias, one small sprig of Holly, and Maiden-hair Fern.
Through the flowers in the two tazzas, large fronds of Adiantum cuneatum Ferns should be arranged so as to wave lightly over them, and from the trumpet I should bring down four long sprays of Creeping Fern to trail out on the table cloth. The two end stands I would arrange in much the same style, using, say, in place of the. Poinsettias, scarlet Geraniums, and Camellias in place of the Callas; in the second tier I would substitute Azaleas for the Eucharises, and let the trumpets be filled with scarlet Begonias and Lily of the Valley.
Round the edge of the lower tazza, some leaves of the variegated Ivy can be laid out on the Ferns, here and there, with good effect, and plenty of Maiden-hair Fern should be mixed through the flowers. Between the centre-piece and the ends, stand two well-grown plants of Adiantum cuneatum Fern, which should be dropped into ornamental china pots, and the surface of the soil should be covered with Lycopodium.
Opposite each guest I should place, in a specimen-glass, a button-hole bouquet, made of flowers that will look well at night. Floating on the water, in the finger-glasses, I would put three leavesof Rose Geranium, the centre of each being pierced by the stem of ablossom of double scarlet Geranium, so as to allow one flower to rest on each leaf.
So much for the floral part; let us now turn to the fruit. Such a table as has just been described will require a good many stands of fruit—probably ten. Grouped round the centre-piece four glass baskets of Grapes, two light and two dark, would look well. There are now four more stands to be employed, and these I should have also of glass, of a flat oval shape, and filled with Apples, Pears, Walnuts, and Filberts, the Nuts and the Pears and Apples being placed opposite each other.
Any vacant places on the table may then be filled in with smaller dishes containing other fresh fruits, crystallized fruits, ice, sugar, or anything else that may be desired. As respects table No. 2, a stand similar in shape to that described for table No. 1 would look well in the centre. A different one might be used, but a March stand is one that should be found in almost every house where floral arrangement of any description receives attention. Round the edge of the bottom dish should be placed some fresh Fern fronds (hardy kinds), and on these might be rested some leaves of golden and silver varieties of Ivy; the dish should then be filled in with white Chrysanthemums, scarlet Geraniums, Laurustinus, Holly berries, white Lilac and a few fronds of Maiden-hair Fern, whilst up the glass stem might be twisted a spray of variegated Ivy.
Then from the edge of the second tier might be drooped some long sprays of Selaginella denticulata, and in the tazza itself be arranged some scarlet Geraniums, Jonquils, or any other scarlet or white flowers that may be at hand, and a few fronds of Maiden-hair.
Round the mouth of the trumpet should be put some Selaginella, finishing off with a few lightlooking scarlet and white flowers, Ferns and Grasses, and two or three leaves of Pampas Grass, placed outward in a graceful wavy manner. Round this centre stand should be arranged eight specimen-glasses, four of the usual height, and four rather shorter; these should be filled with flowers similar to those used in the centre-piece.
At the top and bottom, where, in the larger table, the two other stands would be, two well-berried plants of Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum Capsicastrum) should be placed, the rough pots being dropped into more ornamental ones, fresh Moss placed over the soil, and three dried pods of Roast-beef Plant(Iris fcetidissima) pricked into each. Some white and black Grapes should be put at the top of the tables, and Apples at the bottom. Pears, Nuts, Pigs, etc., or any other fruit it may seem desirable to add, can be then placed at the side, but its selection is left entirely to the discretion of others.
Source: Floral decorations for the dwelling house: A practical guide to the home arrangement of plants and flowers by annie Hassard at Google Books.