The simplest way to describe a water bouquet is to recall to mind the old fashioned glass shade covering a bunch of wax flowers which our grandmothers delighted to make and place upon the parlor mantelpiece. Imagine a bunch of real flowers instead of the wax imitation, and the glass shade to be filled with water instead of air, and you will have some idea of what a water bouquet is — though no notion of its rare beauty is conveyed conveyed.
As the whole operation of making this bouquet is to be carried on underwater, a bathroom is the best place for the work, though a good sized basin will do.
First of all, fill the receptacle nearly to the top with water. Take a shallow dish which is perfectly level and of such size that the glass bell or shade will comfortably and tightly fit upon it it. Then prepare the bunch of flowers which is to form the bouquet, shortening the stems so that the blooms do not crowd too much toward the top of the glass.
To the ends of the bunch, tie a piece of lead or some kind of weight to prevent the flowers from floating away. Put the dish upon which the bouquet is to stand at the bottom of the bath of water, then gently immerse the bunch of flowers, arranging them so that the stems are held in the center of the dish by means of the weight.
Now take the glass bell or shade and, holding it in a horizontal position, put it completely under water. Move it gently toward the dish holding the bouquet, and carefully turn it over until it stands upright so that it closes over the bouquet and fits down upon the dish. Care must be taken during this process to see that not a particle of air remains in the glass shade, otherwise the whole decoration will be be spoiled.
Having seen that the shade is properly in position, get hold of the base of the dish with both hands and lift it, being careful to keep it level out of water. The pressure of the atmosphere will prevent the water inside the bell from escaping, and the whole arrangement may be wiped dry and be ready for use. The only precaution to be observed in handling a water bouquet is to keep it as level as possible in moving it from place to place.
A bunch of flowers treated in this fashion will last for two or three weeks. When it is desired to renew the bouquet, the whole arrangement should be carried back and placed underwater completely as in the original preparation, for any attempt to handle the flowers in the fresh air will lead to the smashing of the bell glass.
The bouquet is not without its use as well as its decorative quality. How many an invalid has pined for the sight of a few flowers, yet been denied them on account of the deleterious effect of the perfume? By the use of the water bouquet, this objection is overcome, and even flowers from bulbs — which are the most dangerous to have in a sickroom — can be used without the slightest fear.