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What Flowers Should I Use In A 1905 Crystal Glass Vase?

Crystal Flower Vase cr. 1905

Crystal Flower Vase cr. 1905

Ask the Expert: How to use a flower center


I recently acquired this beautiful cut glass flower center ca. 1905 and would like to know what type of flowers from that era would have been used.  The vase measures 5″ in height and has a base diameter of 8″.  Thanks for your help. Michael

Flower Expert Reply:

What a beautiful vase. Take your lead from the Victorian Era.  During the Victorian Era (Romantic Age), the growing and arranging of flowers was very popular. Popular flowers at the time were streaked carnations or tulips, anemones, dahlias, freesias, gardenias, salvia, stephanotis, sweet pea, sweet William, verbena and roses. The use of foliage was popular as well. So, you could use fern or plumed grasses in your vase.  Strong colors like dark purple, magenta, red, orange and mustard yellow were often the popular choice for flower arrangements.

Any flower you choose will compliment your beautiful vase.  Please send a picture of the vase filled with flowers. I’d love to see it.

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5 Components of Victorian Floral Design

Victorian Style Flower Arrangement

Victorian Style Flower Arrangement

History of Victorian Floral Design

The Victorian era was when arranging flowers was first recognized as an art form.

The Victorian era in American history marked a period of floral design we often see in elaborate, full designs. The Victorian era is named for Queen Victoria who rules England from 1837 to 1901. During this era, enthusiasm abounded for gardening, flowers and plants. The people were more strict, formal and prudish though decorations (including floral designs) were opulent, lavish and showy.

Upper-class members of society showed their wealth with large, excessive, opulent and often overdone flower arrangements created weekly by cultured ladies in the home and their daughters. This was also the time when tussie-mussie bouquets and nosegay bouquets made their mark in society. Lovers would exchange them as signs of affection. Proper women of Victorian society carried these bouquets at most social gatherings.

Elements & Principles of Victorian Floral Design

Style: Lavish, Full, Massive, Full of Seasonal Flowers, Opulent

Flowers Used: Primarily only MASS, FORM, and FILLER flowers are used. Fruits may also be incorporated with the flowers.

Seasonal flowers are appropriate for Victorian flower designs because during the era arrangements were typically made from flowers cut from the garden.

Roses are almost always required for a Victorian flower arrangement as they were very popular during the era. Other appropriate flowers are tulips, carnations, daisies, China asters, lilies, cockscomb, peonies, bleeding hearts, freesias, dahlias and baby’s breath.

Basic Design Characteristics of Victorian Style

Keep in mind that this style of flowers is very full and focuses on the opulence associated with an abundance of fresh flowers.Tightly massed flowers are characteristic of the style and time period.

Victorian style arrangements are typically round or oval in form. Flowers are typically kept to a lower height, only one to one-and-a-half times the container’s height.

Strong color contrasts and flowers with brilliant hues are preferred. Usually a full range of colors is used. However, monochromatic and analogous tones may also be used.

Lots of foliage is associated with Victorian style flower arrangements. They are used to soften the appearance of tightly massed flowers. Ferns and ivies are popular inclusions.

Containers Used in Victorian Flower Arrangements

Containers used in Victorian style flower arrangements are typically ornate and decorative. They should be showy but not outshine the flowers. A wide variety of containers can be used, ranging from China vases to baskets, urns, round bowls and other containers. Materials also vary. Two and three-tiered epergnes and stands are appropriate for this style.

If you have any comments or pictures of a Victorian style flower arrangement, please add them in the comments below.