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 taste for "leaf plants" Palms, Ferns, and other plants with handsome foliage is good, but it is a question whether the sacrificing of all our beautiful flowering plants for them is not an extreme of good taste, into which most of us are apt to run. Many of us look back on the old times when Acacias, Chorozemas, Croweas, Heaths and Epacriceses, made our Winters gay, and when there was some real gardening skill required to grow them well, with great regret that times are changed, and that we see these pretty things no more; but the times will come again. We still have to have some flowers, though they are only Chinese Primroses, Carnations, Geraniums, Cyclamens, Bouvardias and other things which a child can grow, and which leaves the occupation of a first-class gardener, "gone." To grow these we need scarcely give any hints. A little sun, a little heat, a little air, a little care as regards insects, and these and most of the plants now grown in greenhouses will "grow" themselves.
There is really more skill required to manage a window than a greenhouse in these modern days. A few general hints for these may not be unacceptable. 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 as 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. Where it is not convenient to have the window enclosed from the room by a folding door, much benefit has been found by using a simple curtain. This will prevent injury from the coal or illuminating gas, which is often as destructive as the dry atmosphere.