This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
When we come to practical culture there is much that must be repeated, but yet there are many things brought out in our contributors' columns that become confirmed as good doctrine, and we are able from time to time to introduce new ideas into these very practical columns of Seasonable Hints For instance it is now established beyond all question that a tree or shrub, taken out of a poor soil, will not bear transplanting as one that has been well fed. For instance, if five years ago two Norway spruces were planted, both of same age and in soil both just alike, but one should receive no manure for all that time and the other have a little manure every year, the chance of success in removal will be very much in favor of the well fed tree. Numbers of trees with good roots and well planted, die after removal simply from a weakened constitution brought about by poor living.
Another capital fact of practical value to transplanters has been developed through the contributors to the Gardener's Monthly/, and which is only just now becoming well known. It has always been understood in this country that a transplanted tree is safer for being pruned, but the pruning generally consisted of shortening in all the branches, strong as well as weak. But it is now found that the tree should not he shortened in, but merely thinned out. All the weaker branches should he cut out, and the strong ones left Any extensive planter who has read of these things in our pages, will have saved his subscription price a hundred time- over.
And then there is the practice becoming now better known than the others also first learned through our pages, that, it is not possible to pound the earth too tight about a transplanted tree, it is not possible to avoid all risks it;
'transplanting. The art will never be so perfected that some will not die; but year by year we are learning; and mortality, where all the good conditions can be controlled, will be less than ever before.
Another thing may be remembered, that trees die in winter from drying out. Therefore give the roots all the chances you can to heal and grow before cold drying winds and frosts come. One of the best of these chances is to plant early.
Plant as soon as you can after the fall rains come. It makes little difference whether the yellowed leaves have all fallen or not.
Another interesting thing has been learned about lily culture. They get diseased and die out. But they are not half so liable to these misfortunes when they are planted deep. Lilies should be set six inches beneath the surface. The autumn is the time to plant lilies, as well as most other hardy bulbs. There is not so much enjoyment in summer as in spring flowers. After the total absence of floral beauty during winter, the spring blossoms are doubly welcome - and then the season of the year renders them enjoyable beyond anything that the heats of summer will allow. From now until November the hardy flower roots will be sought for as amongst the most interesting of spring flowers.
Unless very well acquainted with the varieties of hyacinths and other bulbs, it is best to leave the selection of the kinds to the dealer. The best manure for all kinds of bulbs is rotten cow manure. Half rotten stable manure, or rank matter of any kind, is not good. Very rich garden soil, without manure, is better than to have this matter fresh.
Attention should be given at this season to the flower-beds, by noting what has done well in your locality as a summer-blooming plant, as no time should be lost in procuring a stock for next year. The best way to propagate all the common kinds of bedding plants is to take a frame or hand-glass and set it on a bed of very sandy soil made in a shady place in the open air. The sand should be fine and sharp, and there is, perhaps, nothing better than river sand for this purpose. The glass may be whitewashed on the inside, so as to afford additional security against injury from the sun's rays. Into this bed of sand, cuttings of half-ripened wood of the desirable plants may be set, and after putting in, slightly watered. Even very rare plants often do better this way than when under treatment in a regular propagating-house. In making cuttings, it is best to cut the shoot just under a bud, - they root better, and are not so likely to rut off and decay. A cutting of about three eyes is long enough for most strong-growing things, such as geraniums, fuchsias, etc.
Small-growing things, of course, will take more buds to the one cutting. From one to three inches is, however, long enough for most cuttings. They should be inserted about one-third of their way under sand, which latter should be pressed firmly against the row of cuttings with a flat piece of board, - not, however, hard enough to force the particles of sand into the young and tender bark, which is often the first step to decay. For a few cuttings, they may be inserted with a dibble; but where many are to be put in, it saves time to mark a line on the 6and with a rule or straight edge, and then cut down a face into the sand, say one or two inches deep, when the cuttings can be set against the face like box-edging. All amateurs should practice the art of propagating plants. There is nothing connected with gardening more interesting.