This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Those who keep their Epacrises in a miscellaneous house (usually of somewhat higher temperature than the heathery), will have many varieties now bursting into flower, shedding a cheerful aspect over the otherwise somewhat monotonous appearance of a greenhouse at this dull season. No alteration in their treatment from what I stated last month is as yet necessary. A little re-arrangement in the tying out may be required, to display the spikes of bloom more advantageously; for this purpose a few additional sticks may be wanted, which, to render them as inconspicuous as possible, should be thin, painted green, and not longer than necessary to fasten down the branch at their summit. If a list of the newest varieties should be acceptable, with their colours, habits, and most distinguishing characteristics, I will endeavour to prepare one for another month.
Whitehill, Dec. 18, 1848. W. H. Story.
No alteration in the management of this flower will be necessary till the blooming season is over, and the spring sufficiently advanced to give them their annual shift.
Whitehill. W. H. Story.
This tribe is now daily developing its various beauties, nor can any thing be more lovely than a well-grown specimen of hyacinthiflora, candidissima, simata, and many other early spring-blooming varieties, exhibiting to the eye many varied colours of the greatest purity, rendering the greenhouse, at this early season, an object of much interest and loveliness. The only attention necessary during the blooming season is, to see that water is administered when necessary, which will be more frequently required during the usually drying winds of March. The stock plants may be now shifted, stopping all shoots that may be soaring above their fellows; by attending to this little matter now, the whole of the summer's growth will be usefully developing itself, and all cutting back by and by rendered unnecessary. Admit air freely upon all fitting occasions, preventing the approach, however, of cold, cutting winds.
Whitehill, Feb. 15. W. H. Story.
As each plant goes out of bloom, cut it back hard, leaving a necessary quantity of spurs to break from, that a compact and fine head of bloom maybe obtained another year; give the annual shift, which may be a more liberal one than is desirable for a Heath, say from a 6 to a 9-inch pot, and in the same proportion for larger or smaller plants; tie out the main branches as much as may be necessary to admit light and air into the centre, for the purpose of inducing and encouraging a strong break, which will be much facilitated by a month or six weeks' confinement in stove heat; water liberally, but avoid the direct influence of the sun's rays. Cuttings taken from half-ripened wood will strike tolerably free in silver sand, covered with a bell-glass, and placed in a shady part of the stove. I use in potting Epacrises precisely the same compost as for Ericas. Some cultivators use a small proportion of vegetable mould, others the like quantity of turfy loam; but I have never found them to thrive so well with either of those ingredients.
P.S. I have stated on former occasions that the cutting back herein recommended is not applicable to Laevigata onosmijlora, and one or two other species.
Whitehall. W. H. Story.
If the suggestions offered in the Number of last month be not as yet acted upon, lose no more time; for as all new growth on the summit of old leggy wood will have (or ought) to be cut away with it, much unnecessary exhaustion will be avoided, and a larger amount of vigorous blooming wood will be secured for another year; and, what in my opinion is still more important, the foundation will be preserved of a compact, handsome specimen. Prepare the plants for their summer quarters, by gradually hardening off towards the end of the month, or as soon as the new growth has arrived at sufficient consistency to bear exposure. I have found Epacrises to break equally strong, or nearly so, in a two-light box, kept close except for a few hours in the middle of a warm day; shading with a mat from the sun, and using it as a protection from cold at night.
Whitehill. W. H. Story.