Gay opened the box and lifted out a mass of crimson roses which flooded the room with fragrance. “My word, how gorgeous, Gay! Two dozen! Look at the length of the stems! I’ve heard that red vibrates. Now I know it. Each one of the roses is broadcasting a message.Today is Yours
Spring has arrived, the ground is warming, and in my part of the world, it will soon be time to plant again. I’ve grown roses a long time–antique, English, hybrid tea, floribunda, and grandiflora. My poor roses took it on the chin a couple of winters ago, though, and I thought Emilie might have an idea for their replacements.
When Emilie was a girl, the “it” flower was the Jacqueminot rose. Girls wore them pinned to their gowns, and silk gowns were printed with the deep red flower.
Then, during Emilie’s debutante years, the American Beauty was introduced, and it took the country by storm.
An American-Bred Rose
There is a new American rose, and the Boston Herald says it owes its creation to Mr. George Bancroft, the historian. You can get one from a Boston florist for $1.50. It is a wonderful flower, dark pink in color, surpassing the Jacqueminot in efflorescent richness. It is called the American Beauty, and has thus far only been grown in Washington. It is sent from there to all the large cities. Put $25 worth of these buds and the Jacqueminots mixed in a large vase and you have the rose in its highest development of beauty.The Critic (Washington, D.C.), 1886
She…slipped into a crêpe house-coat the exact shade of an American Beauty rose.We Ride the Gale!
Even as he welcomed her he wondered why more gray-haired women with brilliant dark eyes didn’t wear small American Beauty red hats with a mink sling cape. The combination was a knockout on her.Beckoning Trails
It turned out that the rose was actually French, and Mr. Bancroft had to give up credit, but the American Beauty was so popular that it was made the official flower of Washington, D.C. I was all set to hunt it down for my garden, but wait, not so fast.
…lamplight and firelight glinted on the silver bowl of pink Perfection rosesWhere Beauty Dwells
So Pink Perfection roses, then?
“Templars!” she explained breathlessly. “Did you ever see such gorgeousness; their beauty sets the air vibrating!” She lifted two of the lovely blossoms to her face.Hilltops Clear
Her cheeks were as pink as the heart of a Russell rose.
… the breath of red Radiance roses in a tall silver vaseGive Me One Summer
Clearly, I have more choices! I’ll check for them in the antique rose catalogs. But what’s this about roses in “bowls?”
He bent over the bowl of red roses on the desk to inhale their fragrance. Not such a wilderness when a florist could produce blooms like that within flying distance.Lighted Windows
I went back to a 1906 volume of House and Garden magazine for the answer.
“The old shape rose bowl for some of the less pretentious varieties is not to be despised..”
I should hope not! I’d love to put roses in this crystal bowl. But it’s not quite what Emilie seems to describe here:
The fragrant breath of yellow roses in bowls, low silver bowls of pink roses among the lavish display of sandwiches, cakes, confections…Across the Years
“For the table, a low bowl has the edges turned outwards so as to form a support to the stem, which also finds further support in the interior of the bowl, these stems in turn helping to support the centre flowers.”
I’ll keep my eye out for this shape. I’m guessing that the criss-cross stems support more upright blooms in the center.
Not to worry, if you don’t have rose bowls of any type.
…two perfect pink Perfections in a slim silver vaseHigh of Heart
… one perfect rose in a slender crystal vaseFair Tomorrow
We have choices!
She…changed to a sleeveless aqua organdy and fastened a pink Perfection rose to her shoulder.We Ride the Gale
Have you noticed how often an Emilie Loring character wears flowers at her waist (often violets, but also roses), or in her hair, or, in this case, on her shoulder? That last is simply a corsage, but we don’t wear flowers nearly so much as Emilie’s generation did.
“The Vogue of Flowers”
Not for many years has it been so universally the vogue to wear flowers with all costumes, nor have their possibilities been so fully realized. (Vanity Fair, 1914)
Apparently, the young girl wears a rosebud; the mature woman wears a “full-blown” rose,
but the red one must find its place on the corsage, the coat, or fur wraps of the older woman of established poise and position, who has won the right fully to express her personality.
And then there’s this:
There is but one universal flower that may be worn by all women–the violet.
But that’s a story for another time.
For now, I’m after roses. We have a special Emilie Loring tea coming up this summer, and I’d love to have homegrown roses on my table–and maybe on myself, too!