This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
About this time of the year people will prepare hanging-baskets, for suspending from trees and half-shaded places in piazzas, so as to get them to grow well and be established against next winter, when they will have to adorn rooms and •mall conservatories. It is of course well under-stood by this time that these baskets when made of pottery or metal must have a hole to let out the water. This note seems necessary, however, because we often see things offered for sale as flower-baskets that have no provision of the kind. The best baskets are wire ones that have a coat of moss on the inside to keep in the earth. These never get too wet, and with proper care never too dry. Plants do not require changing in these baskets near as often as people think, for a lady of the writer's acquaintance has baskets that have been undisturbed for several years, but manure is occasionally given to them, and the plants thrive charmingly. Among the plants in them we note the Abutilon vexilla-rium pictum, a really delightful thing with its half-pendant habit and profusion of orange and crimson flowers.
The old green-leaved Mesem-bryanthemum cordifolium, or ice plant; Senecio scandens, or parlor ivy, one of which plants from the basket had some of its branches twelve and fifteen feet in length, and was wreathed about picture frames and other ornaments on the walls of the room; the old red Mesembryanthemum spec-tabile; several ferns, as Onychia japonica, Platy. loma hastata, Pteris serrulata, and Adiantum Cappillis veneris; Oxalis multiflora; Oxalis flori-bunda; variegated Periwinkle; and there were actually some "weeds" growing among other things, which the lady thought too pretty to pull out. A very large lemon tree was in the room that had been blooming all winter, the picture of health. The room was heated by a common anthracite coal stove, and all the plants as healthy as we see in any greenhouse, and much better than in many - but the deadly foe to the plant-grower, illuminating gas, was absent - the room being lighted from coal oil lamps. We are satisfied, from such little experiences as these, that lists of plants for room or basket culture are superlative - for any thing will do well if properly treated. The baskets are hung out under trees in summer.
In fact almost all plants do better in the open air in summer than under glass; but with what are called hard-wooded plants, like Heaths and Epacrises, the dry heat of our climate does not seem to agree. A partially shaded place is best for most of them, but not under the drip of trees, though many persons put them out under trees, as such shade with drip is better than the hot sun. Plants are better also with their pots plunged into the soil, but they ought to be twisted around or taken up and reset about once a month, or roots will so many go through the bottom of the pot as to injure the health of the plant when taken up, and so many broken off at once in the fall. Azaleas usually flower better when plunged in the full sun.
There are some things which do well kept under glass all summer, as Achimenes, Gloxinea, Begonias, Ferns, etc, but it will be best to try to get as much as possible in the open air; in the first place, because they are more enjoyable thus in summer, and, in the next place, because they usually keep hardier, and clearer from insects, which are very hard to contend with, under glass, in hot weather.