In a unique Boston school, founded to teach the science of homemaking, where the girls put their theories into practice in houses run by themselves, one of the tasks allotted is to keep flowers in the house on an allowance of 50 cents a week. They manage this in various ways.
One girl bought bulbs. Fifty cents buys ten narcissus bulbs. These will fill two bowls with starry beauty and the blossoming lasts ten days.
Another girl whose term of office as the family florist came in jonquil time, bought half a dozen jonquils twice a week. Four of these with the green blades that came with them were put in a flower holder submerged in a bowl of water, and made a beautiful decoration for the dark dining table. The other two were placed in one flower vase on the living room mantel.
The cleverest scheme was devised by a girl who was acquainted with the woods in winter. Two weeks before her term of office she went out into the woods and came home with her arms full of what the other girls called “bare twigs.” When her turn came to decorate she had two big bronze vases full of maples and wild quince and dogwood just breaking into blossom. She had put the bare twigs in water in the sunshine and they had blossomed.
Of course there are many homes where 50 cents cannot be spared for flowers, especially in these days. But if one feels that flowers come too high, a dull green fern dish with an asparagus fern will give a refreshing touch of green to the dining table. One woman saves even the cost of a fern by planting in her fern dish a few grapefruit seeds which produce a very pretty little fern.
In the home where there are several wage earners it might be possible to persuade each of them to give five or ten cents a week toward having flowers in the house. In one home there is a little box into which each member of the family has to drop a penny when anything is left out of place. The proceeds are used in buying flowers for the dining table.
The modern woman is coming to realize that her high position as homemaker imposes the obligation of trying to make the home beautiful as well as comfortable. Surely she will be willing to make a little effort and sacrifice for the sake of having flowers, “the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into” in her home.
— from Flowers For Every Home by Ruth Cameron, 1917