This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
I fear my scrappy way of writing will not please your readers; but I wish to give vent to a thought or two. First on cottagers' prizes at horticultural exhibitions. I have long wished to say a word or two on the observations of "a Novice," in your ninth Number. The first object of encouragement should be vegetables, as the article of most general use to the cottager; and the best mode of encouragement is, not by giving one large prize to the first, and an inconsiderable second prize, but by giving a number; say a dozen, half-a-dozen, or less, according to the probable number of exhibitors, judging from the population, and the habits of the people to whom the prizes are offered. But let the prizes be on a very graduated scale, as 5s., 4s., 3s., 2s., 1s. The next object should be fruit, then flowers; and in offering prizes for the two former, the usefulness of the articles to the exhibitor, either for his family or for sale, should guide the framers of the list; he should be encouraged rather to grow these well, than to seek for new, or rare, and therefore expensive sorts.
As to flowers, I would follow the same rule, both as to prizes and as to sorts; for 1 would encourage none but cottagers' flowers; and would give no separate prizes for Geraniums, Roses, Dahlias, or many other fancy flowers, which encumber the cottagers' prize-lists in some of our horticultural societies. If you do, you encourage the exhibitors rather to cheat by borrowing from their richer neighbours, to steal, or to beggar themselves by spending money in order to be first.
I firmly believe that nothing tends so much to humanise the cottager as to encourage him to love his garden. The taste for gardening increases, but I cannot recall an instance where it has existed and decayed.
In a late Number, amongst the remedies against hares and rabbits, I do not see tar mentioned. A few tarred sticks, placed round the object you wish to preserve, will be found an effectual barrier. At all events, they are in my brother's plantations, in a place desperately open to the attacks of rabbits.
I have known a small light-coloured worm infest my Pansies in the same manner as stated by your correspondent, "J. Riley;" but longer in body than he mentions, - half an inch, I should think. They are very fond of strawberries; for I have often found my ripest fruit nearly full of them; and I know no cure. They are like little whitish worms, but have a pair (or perhaps more, for I am no naturalist) of feelers at their heads. I have found the same attack Carnations, Picotees, and Pinks.
January 20. An Amateur.