This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
The extreme mildness of the recent months has caused many of these plants to push up their bloom-sterns. It will not be advisable to cut them off, for, if allowed to remain, the greater number will survive the winter, and flower fine at the proper season. Continue to protect the plants from wet, but allow a free circulation of air through the day, if the weather is not frosty. The frames need only be closed when harsh, drying, easterly and northerly winds prevail. Draw on the lights about three or four o'clock in the afternoon, as the weather may be more or less congenial. Look the plants over, and give those that are getting dry a little water, and, towards the latter end of the month, water may be given more freely, the fibres by that time will be moving, and require a greater supply.
J. T. Neville.
Auricula seed should be sown this month, the earlier the better. If the compost is not ready, it should be prepared forthwith, and the pans or boxes washed clean before using them a second time. The soil should also be carefully cleared of worms, or they will commit much mischief among the young plants when they commence their growth. The most approved soil for Auricula seed is, three parts leaf-mould and one of silver-sand; it should be passed through a fine sieve, for, on the first germinating of the seeds, they have not strength enough to penetrate a close soil. Good drainage is essential. The pans may be filled one-third of their depth with potsherds, broken rather small, then filled up to within an inch of the top with any good and sweet compost, well shaken down; finish with the leaf-mould and sand. The surface being levelled, and slightly pressed, and the seed being regularly distributed, should also be pressed into the compost sufficiently to bury them level with the surface, and be thinly covered with the leaf-mould and sand, not deeper than the thickness of three sheets of writing-paper. Place the seed-pans in a western or northwestern corner of the garden, protected (in a cold frame or under a hand-glass) from heavy and moderate rains, that are likely to wash up and disturb the seed; but be sure to keep the soil in a continued moist state, or the seed will not swell.
Water with a very fine rose pot, and at every opportunity allow it to receive light, misty showers, or, if such occur, a fall of snow now and then will be still more beneficial. J. T. Neville.
From the early part of this month, till the pips are in danger of injury from rain (which will not be the case while the calyx covers the tube or pipe), Auriculas should be allowed the benefit of warm showers; it will greatly strengthen and improve them, and ultimately tend to increase the size and quality of the blossoms. Keep up a good supply of moisture; the demand will be greater daily; and in harsh, drying, windy weather, give water between the pots, that the bottom of the frame may be continually moist; for, as the evaporation passes off, a large portion will be absorbed by the foliage, which in a great measure counteracts the effects of drying winds. By the middle of the month, or thereabout, the trusses will have risen out of the hearts of the plants. At this period plants intended for exhibition should be selected. If for London shows, be sure that they have seven pips. Give the preference to plants with level trusses, the buds well formed, round, and uniform in size. As soon as it can be safely done, cut away any ill-shaped pips, such as are likely to disfigure the symmetry of the truss; and as soon as the trusses have so advanced in growth that the pips begin to separate, they may be thinned out, by removing a few of the smaller ones least likely to be useful.
During the day, let the glasses be drawn off as often as possible, and remain so till as late in the evening as convenient, if the weather be mild and open; but if cold and severe, cover early with sufficient matting or other material to secure them from frost. Uncover in the morning as soon as the atmosphere is congenial. Towards the end of the month, shading for an hour or two in the middle of the day will be necessary, if the sun be shining powerfully.
Best pair, Amateurs1 Class, first prize to W. S. Ginger, Esq., Maida Hill, with Taylor's Glory and Page's Champion; 2d, to J. Chapman, Esq., Brixton, with Hogg's Waterloo and Dickson's Duke of Wellington; 3d, to J. Edwards, Esq., with Conqueror of Europe and Crucifix. Best four, 1st prize to J. Chapman, Esq., with Britannia, Smith's Waterloo, Hogg's ditto, and Conqueror of Europe; 2d, W. S. Ginger, Esq., with Duke of Wellington, Glory, Ringleader, and Alexander; 3d, to J. Edwards, Esq., for Unique, Conqueror of Europe, Crucifix, and Champion. Best four, Nurserymen's Class, 1st prize to Mr. Dickson, of Acre Lane, for Unique, Champion, Glory, and Duke of Wellington; 2d, to Mr. Bushell, of Kennington; and 3d, to Mr. Gaines, of Bat-tersea.