This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
"It was Autumn now, though only felt to he so by a certain something in the air, which speaks, to those who understand it, of the fading Summer, even before the flowers themselves have told it to the gently breathing gales." - Hearts and Homes.
As the heavily-laden wains convey the ripened grain from the fields, and the gleaners desert the spots which yield them no further benefit, the season assumes an autumnal air, not quite pleasing to those who have been enamoured with the early loveliness and the gay plenty of spring and summer. But long after the broad lands of the farmer have done their work, and have ceased to be interesting to ordinary observers, the garden continues to be beautiful and attractive. In interest, indeed, September rivals April, although its charms are of a different kind. The exotics, now so plentifully found "bedded out" in our gardens, are in this month full of bloom; the Dahlias seldom look well until the scorching heat of August has been tempered by the later rains; and there is a general richness distinguishing the domain of Flora, most delightful to her disciples. The pleasure is certainly alloyed by the thought that death and desolation are close at hand, masked by this luxurious loveliness:
"Lover, trust not to her eyes; When they sparkle most, she dies!"
Yet there is hope mingled with this sadness; for we know that spring will return, more beautiful by the contrast of the winter, which is so soon to come.
Unless my readers love the declining year to bear with it the daily emblems and proofs of its decay, they will keep up a constant opposition to the falling leaves and withering flower-stems, carefully removing every thing which would otherwise strew the paths and flower-beds. Besides the neatness and order diffused by this process, we are encouraged to persevere in it by the value of these exuviae when collected into a heap and allowed to rot during the winter. A stock of leaf-mould, mixed with the small gravel swept up with it, will be highly valued in the spring, and therefore the labour necessary to collect it now must be cheerfully incurred; and if the robin follows your broom, as it does ours, hopping from side to side of the walk, and picking up as you proceed the insects you turn over, you will feel there is an interest in falling autumn leaves after all.
During this month tender things must be taken up and repotted, if you wish to preserve them. Verbenas, when pegged down properly, will be found nicely rooted at the joints; and plants may be taken up and put into a cold frame for use in the spring. Before October the soil should be thrown up a little round the stems of Dahlias, or early frosts will do irreparable injury to the crowns, and prevent any increase another year. This is the time to look over your stock of bulbs, and to add to it, if necessary. The importations of Dutch flower-roots take place in September, and the first served will be best off. To have Hyacinths early, either in pots or glasses, they must be attended to at once. Pot in a light sandy soil, mixed with well-decayed vegetable fibre, and bury the pots in some well-drained border; they will be rooted in six weeks, and may then be removed to a frame, or the window of a sitting-room. For glasses, the treatment is, to put the bulbs over the water, as near as possible without their touching it; the glasses should then be placed in a closet away from the light until roots are formed, when the more open the situation is the better. Clean soft water, often changed, is all they need.
Be liberal with spring bulbs in your gardens, and you will find that the interest attaching to them from January to May is as great as at any season of the year.
The Bury, Luton. Henry Burgess.