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.
The great anxiety will be at this time to preserve those things that have been growing in the open ground during summer, for, though when they were set out, we had no thought of anything more than summer decoration, we hate to let things go to destruction that have afforded us so much pleasure. The feeling is commendable, and yet it is to be kept in check or we overburden ourselves with material which becomes a tax on time and space to care for. Still there are always some to be lifted, and those who have not the advantage of professional gardeners to assist them, may find a few hints serviceable to them.
In taking up things from the ground for potting, care should be taken to have the pots well drained, with pieces of potsherds over the hole. The more rapidly water passes through the soil the better plants will grow.- Pots could be made without holes, and the water would all go through the porous sides in time; but that is too slow a way, so we make a hole to admit of its more rapid escape, and we place the broken pots over the hole to make a vacuum, which assists the objects of the hole. In very small pots, or with plants which have strong enough roots to rapidly absorb all the moisture they get, and speedily ask for more, "crocking" is not necessary.
After potting, the plants should be well watered and kept in the shade for a few days. If they still show signs of keeping a wilted appearance long, it may be as well to pick off a few of the leaves. Some things of not too tender a nature can be kept in cellars for spring. The bedding geraniums are often treated in this way. The leaves and softer parts are cut away, the whole tied in bunches, and hung up. At times the cellar is rather dry for this, and then some moss is packed in among the roots, and kept a little damp.
Plants for blooming in windows or conservatories are looked after soon. The Chinese primroses are among the best for this purpose, and indeed the whole primrose family is excellent, provided the rooms in which they are to flower are not too warm. They are all nearly hardy, and would sooner have some frost than great heat. The old Auricula is a great favorite with English plant growers for early spring flowers, but has to be kept in sunk pits in the cool over summer in our climate. Few care to take this trouble, but it is worth all it costs. It belongs to the primrose family, and we give an illustration in order to make it better known.
There are some very pretty additions to the old primrose family of late years in cultivation, of which the Primula japonica, P. involucrata, and P.farinosa are now well-known examples. After all there are few prettier things in this class than the varieties of the old English primroses under the names both of Polyanthus and Oxlip; of these there are singles and doubles. The white ones especially are in great demand by florists. The double ones known are generally of the old single stem or primrose class. Mr. M.
Vilmorin, of Paris, who was on a recent visit to the Centennial Exhibition, tells us that they have in France a peculiar double one. It is of the " Hose in Hose" class, and must be very beautiful and give an increased interest to this tribe of plants. He gave us the following sketch of it,
Hanging-baskets which have been in piazzas or under trees all summer, will need to be taken to the parlors soon. Many take out and reset at this season under an impression that the soil is exhausted; but a much better way is to let them alone, and sprinkle a little very well decayed manure among them.
There are but few things in the greenhouse that will require special treatment at this time. Camellias and Azaleas, as they cease to grow, will require less water; but it is now so well known that moisture is favorable to growth, and comparative dryness favorable to flowering, that we need do no more than refer to the fact.
Bulbs for flowering in pots should be placed at once. Four or five inch pots are suitable. One Hyacinth and about three Tulips are sufficient for each. After potting, plunge the pots over their rims in sand under the greenhouse stage, letting them remain there until the pots have become well filled with roots, before bringing them on to the shelves to force.