This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The best feature of a garden in Winter is a nice greenhouse, filled with healthy plants. They need not be forced flowers, for there are numbers which bloom naturally at this season of the year.
New Holland and Cape plants, such as Epacris, Acacia, Heaths, etc., are now the glory of the greenhouse; hot bursts of sun on them should be avoided, as it lays in them the seed of" consumption," which frequently carries them off the following summer.
Chrysanthemums should now be raised from cuttings for fall flowering. They make better blooming plants than offsets.
Auriculas, Carnations, Pinks, and Polyanthus the prettiest of florists' flowers must be kept cool, just free from frost, with plenty of air, if best results are desired.
Azaleas succeed well by grafting with the half ripe shoots of the present season's growth on plants raised either by seeds or cuttings. Old wood does not take readily.
Geraniums, Pelargoniums, Cinerarias, and Chinese Primroses, must be kept as near the glass and light as possible; they do little good in shady places. Keep off the green Aphis; for this, on a small scale, there is nothing like hot water; on a large scale, tobacco smoke, in several successive light doses, is stall the best remedy.
Camellias will require rather more water while growing than at other times. Just before they grow is a good season to graft. Cut down the stock, cleft graft in the crown, wax, and plunge in a bottom heat of 70°. A great many kinds may be had on one plant by the bottle system - a shoot about to grow is obtained, and attached to the stock as in inarching, the end of the shoot being put in a small phial of water suspended beneath it. This plan does best, however, with half-ripe wood in July.
Pansies are coming now into flower. They like an airy frame, where they will not be roasted in mid-day nor exposed to drying winds, and yet have a free circulation of air and plenty of light. Planted out in such a frame, and the old shoots cut away as soon as the plant has done flowering, the plants will keep healthy over till the next season. Superior varieties can be raised from seed. Choose those with the roundish petals, best colors, and the first flowers that open, to raise seed from.
Look out for a good stock of bedding plants in time; by striking cuttings of such things as grow rapidly, and sowing seeds of such annuals as may be advanced to advantage.
Window plants are as much appreciated at this season as at any time of the year. There are few things more beautiful than the old classes of roses - the Borbon and China. We have seen some beauties in windows recently, and wonder they are not more grown. In another case we saw a handsome Chorozema cordata. Usually, Australian plants do not thrive in our climate, but this plant was simply plunged in partial shade in summer, rewarding the owner with its pretty brown and purple butterfly-like flowers all winter. This, and many other window-flowers, are liable to suffer from the minute insect known as red spider. Very minute whitish green spots on the leaves usually indicate the insect's existence. It is best to lay the plants on their sides, in the open air, and treat them to a powerful syringing with strong soap-suds, and, while still damp, sprinkle a little sulphur on them from a pepper-box. Red spiders do not hanker much after sulphur. Sometimes window plants suffer from mildew, and sulphur is a good remedy for it also.