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.
A year ago we called attention to the success of a lady who filled her flower-pots to the brim and even mounded the earth in the centre.
This plan will not please skilled gardeners, nor ought it to do so. They will get along better in the old way. But an extended experience with window gardening teaches us that the pot plants almost always fail from too much rather than too little water, and we feel, therefore, that there is virtue in the full pot plan. It is almost impossible to over-water a pot when it is packed quite full of earth. Saucers must of course be kept under window plants, in order to guard the carpets from water. But the water must not be allowed to stand in the saucers; when it has all passed through the pot, the saucers should be emptied.
Hanging baskets, on the other hand, are generally too dry. Besides the daily waterings, about once a week they should be immersed in a bucket of water.
Window Plants should not be kept very warm at this season. They should have all the sun and air, and as little of the artificial heat of the room as possible. These remarks apply especially to Mignonette, which is very impatient of in-door confinement. Succulents, such a Cacti, are excellent window plants in this respect, as the dry air does not affect them. To keep the air about the plants moist, is one of the secrets of window-culture. Some who have very fine windows well stocked with fine plants, make glazed cases with folding doors of them, by which, when the room is highly heated and very dry, they can be enclosed in an atmosphere of their own. In such cases, ferns and mosses can be grown to perfection, and pendant plants in hanging vases give a Brazilian forest appearance to our happy Christmas homes.
The greenhouse will now begin to look more natural, after having had the stock housed last month. With many plants having probably been taken up out of the open ground, dead leaves will daily appear, requiring frequent removal. Neatness is one of the chief beauties of a greenhouse. Acacias, and Australian plants generally with hard wood and delicate roots, should be placed at the coolest end of the house, where little water will be required. These plants should not be watered often; but when they are, it should be thorough. Frequent waterings soon render the roots of these plants unhealthy, when it is very difficult to restore them to vigor. Whenever the foliage becomes of sickly yellow hue, the best plan is to plunge the plant in a larger pot, filling the space with moss, - and when the plant requires water, give it only through the moss, unless the plant seem to become so dry as to suffer, when it should receive one thorough watering. Very little fire should be applied to a greenhouse, - just sufficient to keep it at about 45°. Unless very far north, but little fire-heat will be required this month.