This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
"The flush of the landscape is o'er,
The brown leaves are shed on the way, The dye of the lone mountain-flower Grows wan and betokens decay.
All silent the song of the thrush,
Bewilder'd she cowers in the dale; The blackbird sits lone on the bush -
The fall of the leaf they bewail".
If the flower-garden has been cleared of all decayed vegetation, and received its stock of spring bulbs, little will remain to be done during the present month in the open air. If alterations are contemplated, let them be finished as early as possible, that the plants which have been removed may get a chance of rooting before frosts set in. It is well at this time to take a general survey of the garden, to see if any new trees or shrubs can be introduced with advantage. Whatever you determine on having, get from the nursery-ground with the roots as perfect and little disturbed as possible. The work of transplanting is done far more effectually in autumn than in spring, for the drying suns and winds of the latter season will often render success impossible.
As most ladies who are at all attached to horticultural pursuits have plants in pots which demand their care during the winter, their arrangements should now be complete. Roses, Fuchsias, Verbenas, and other flowers which are not easily affected by damp, will do well in a frame, provided frost is excluded, and abundance of air given on all practicable occasions. We set our frames for this purpose on a rough wooden stage about eight inches from the ground; this allows of a circulation of air from below, and tends much to promote the dryness so essential to success. The frames should be well glazed, and coverings of oiled calico be at hand to put on during rains, so as to prevent water from dripping on the plants, which is often the cause of their destruction during the short and dull days of winter. At the beginning of December we line the frames with dry litter, about a foot thick all round; and then, with old carpets or mats ready to heap on as the degree of frost may demand, we have no apprehension of losing our favourites. One rule must be observed rigidly, and that is, not to remove the coverings and admit light too quickly after a severe frost.
A frozen plant will be destroyed by the solar rays coming on it when in that state, which, if allowed to thaw in the dark, would have taken no harm. Although this direction is so often given in works on gardening, and is founded on such obvious natural principles, we find it is constantly being neglected; we therefore make no excuse for inserting it here.
Plants in windows must receive no more water than is sufficient to prevent their flagging; as mere conservation, not growth, is now required. Scarlet Geraniums we put into very small pots, and place them in the windows of rooms not often used. A temporary shelf, supported on brackets on a level with the window-seat, will hold a great number. We have just placed sixty Geraniums in such a situation, the shelf being four feet long and eighteen inches broad. When there is danger from frost, we shall move them to the other side of the room, opposite to the window. Of course, these hints are not intended for those who have greenhouses.
The Bury, Luton. Henry Burgess.