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.
If we take a look through most greenhouses, we see with regret that the cultivation of plants with the view to make fine specimens of skill has not kept pace with general gardening progress. The demand for cut flowers causes a general crowding - and thus we see at horticultural exhibitions only in rare cases plants of more merit than could be bought for a few cents at any street corner. Even in the cases where large specimens are on exhibition they are chiefly plants which time and not skill has made. It may perhaps be the Sago Palm owned by Robert Morris of the Revolution, or it may be some other thing that has been the hero of a hundred shows, still the same old plant and nothing more. In view of this falling off or perhaps indifference to garden skill, it is a pleasure to find ourselves once in a while in some old farmhouse or cottage by the way, where magnificent specimens of the commonest things are found in the highest perfection It was our privilege to see early the past spring, growing in an old iron-bound bucket, a specimen of the common Indian Daphne, several feet high, and with hundreds of sweet blossoms over every part of it; and yet this person had not even a greenhouse of any sort to grow the plant so well.
Where is the greenhouse that can produce such Daphnes as this? More recently we have seen old Scarlet Geraniums and Rose Geraniums not cut down and made into small bushes from time to time, but kept on growing from year to year, making grand specimens, clothed with foliage from bottom to top, and covered with flowers - truly magnificent sights to see. This is the sort of skill we like to see encouraged. A new or rare plant is all very well, but a good specimen of an old thing is equally new or rare and well worth the trying for.
Most of the plants are set out for the summer, as formerly recommended - little care will be required beyond seeing that they are not over or under watered. Some will be yet growing; and may be full of roots. If growth will probably continue for a while longer, pots a size larger may be furnished such. Whenever a shoot appears to grow stronger than the rest, so as to endanger compactness or any desired shape, pinch it back, and any climbing vines should receive due regulation as they grow over the trellis, or they will speedily become naked below. A good, stiff trellis is a desideratum hard to be obtained by the uninitiated.
In training vines, so manage that there shall be a due proportion of branches hanging loosely about the trellis, - as it is this flowing gracefulness that adds half the charms to this tribe of plants which they so profusely possess.