Illustration of a shoot with leaves from a Victorian seed catalog.

A “green” alternative to decorating with artificial flowers is described in this brief article, original published in The Ladies’ World, March 1896. It certainly sounds possible, although I have not attempted this for the simple fact that my cats won’t let me. But if you have good results with this, let me know. I think there is still time to gather up some branches, although with the crazy weather we’ve had (in the Philadelphia PA region), many of us will probably find the buds are already in bloom.

A Pleasant Surprise

If you wish to have a pleasant surprise, put small branches of apple, or pear, or cherry, or lilac, or forsythia, spirea, syringa, or other flowering shrubs in jars of water and set them in a sunny window. Take care to fill the jars with warm water as the quantity evaporates, and never allow it to freeze. Do this in February, or as early in March as you can get the branches, and some day you will see the buds swelling, then showing hints of coming tints of coming blossoms, and you will know that a surprise is in store for you. Some other day you will find your room brightened and perfumed by sudden spring blossoms while yet it is dull and cold out-of-doors. What can be sweeter than a bunch of fresh lilac or a branch of pink and white apple bloom?

Phillips M. Ferris