This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The two divisions under which these interesting plants naturally group themselves, when considered for practical purposes, are the hardy and the tender: in other words, such as grow out of doors and lend to the attractions of Summer, or such as need protection in the Winter months and serve to adorn our parlors and green houses during that inclement season. At this time of year the latter class are invested with a livelier interest, for more and more is it becoming imperative upon all persons of refined taste, to make the apartments in which they live reflectors in some sort of the spirit which animates their possessors. Nothing can add a greater charm to a room than a few well-tended vines and flowers, be its furniture otherwise ever so plain.
The newest and most beautiful climber we have seen in use as a window plant is the climbing fern; the only objection to its culture being a rather delicate habit of growth, necessitating more care on the part of the cultivator than it is always convenient to bestow. Like all ferns, it loves shade, moisture and a rich, well-rotted, wood-soil. If these conditions can be complied with, no plant will give greater satisfaction, for it is surpassingly graceful and pretty. To grow climbers successfully in the house, one should be provided with as many trellis-frames (of wire rather than wood) as there are vines to rear. Of any kind named in this article, one would be sufficient to fill a window, and furnish a pretty background for lower growing plants arranged in front. For persons who do not affect novelty, the long used German Ivy, Senecio scandens, is most desirable, for if planted in any moderately rich soil, and regularly supplied water, it will flourish and throw out its fresh green tendrils with such rapidity, as to form a very bower in a wonderfully short space of time. German Ivy grows freely from the slip, but a well started plant may be bought of a florist for a mere trifle, and thus time be saved.
There are several new sorts recently introduced which have variegated foliage, and also bear quite pretty blossoms. The smilax is so well known and universally admired as not to have suffered even under the weight of its long botanical name, Myrsiphyl-lum asparagoides. Its bright, glossy foliage furnishes the prettiest green with which to set off the flowers of a bouquet, or twine into a wreath, which circumstance alone renders it an indispensable addition to even a small collection of plants. The dry heat of rooms makes the greatest difficulty in preserving climbers in a flourishing condition during the really cold weather, when the outer air cannot be freely admitted. Anthracite coal fires are most objectionable on this score, bituminous coal having been proved by experience to be much less inimical to the growth and well being of plants. It is advisable in either case to have a vessel filled with water, placed near your plants, even though they are thoroughly supplied with a daily allowance of water from a watering pot. A careful sponging of their leaves, once a week, has been found very beneficial to house-plants. The pots holding them, should, of course, be placed in a tub, or large waiter to receive the drippings, while the plants are being submitted to this process.
Of desirable blooming climbers for Winter decoration, we might suggest almost any variety of the Tropa3olum, with its orange or scarlet blossoms; the passion flower, to be found in blue, crimson, or white, each beautiful and interesting; ivy-leaved geraniums, and the Begonia glaucophylla scandens, with its free growth and splendidly gorgeous bloom.