This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Hardenbergia (Kennedya) Comptoniana, one of the many beautiful climbers that adorn our conservatories, is an evergreen climbing or twining vine belonging to the Natural Order Legu-minosse, and is a native of New Holland, from whence it was introduced in 1803. It is an elegant climber, attaining a height of from twelve to eighteen feet, of not a very rambling disposition, with strong smooth stems and glossy green leaves, the leaves being scattered or distant from each other. It produces its flowers very freely during the months of March and April in long, erect racemes, each raceme being composed of an immense number of bright blue flowers. The Hardenbergia is a plant that requires a little skill in order to cultivate it successfully. It requires, and must have, good drainage, a compost of two parts turfy peat, one part well-rotted manure, or leaf mould, with the addition of a liberal portion of sharp sand, in order to render the compost a porous and open one. Water should be liberally supplied, but care should be taken to prevent the soil from becoming too wet; the plant requires to be syringed overhead freely in order to guard against the red spider, to which insect it is very subject.
The Hardenbergia can be planted out in the greenhouse border and trained up the rafters, or it can be grown in large pots, and if the plants are carefully trained to a neat circular trellis, they will form, when in blossom, excellent specimen plants for decorative purposes. But in order to guard against disappointment it is well to remember the fact that young and small specimens seldom flower well. Propagation is effected by seeds and cuttings; cuttings of the half-ripened wood are said to root freely if placed in heat under a hand glass, but the easiest and most preferable method of increasing this plant is by seeds, which are freely produced, and from which fine young plants can be obtained in the course of a few months. The seeds should be sown early in spring in a pot or pan of well drained, light, peaty, sandy soil; soak the seed in warm water previously to sowing; sow thinly and cover slightly ; place the pot or pan in a warm, moist situation; keep moist, and shade from bright sunshine. As soon as the plants are strong enough to handle, pot off into three-inch pots, using light, fibrous soil ; keep close and moist, until well established, then gradually expose to the open air.
Do not permit the roots to get matted or allow the plants to become pot-bound ; but shift into larger pots as often as necessary. During the summer season the plants (if grown in a pot) can be plunged in a partially-shaded situation, care being taken as to watering - syringing. A winter tempera-ture of from 40° to 60° will suit this Harden-bergia very well.