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.
What we said last month about the slowness of the world to learn, and the little encouragement the teacher receives as he looks abroad for some impression of his work, is as well illustrated by many other things, as by trees and tree pruning. Take the Rose for instance. Just now there is a rising craze for budded Roses - Roses budded on the Manetti stock. It is evident that a vast number of persons do not even know that they are simply going on in the endless round of the old-new things. As this is the month for rose talk we will copy as perhaps a seasonable bit of advice, suited to the new budded Rose mania, what was given from the pen of the writer over twenty years ago:
Many persons use the Manetti stock to bud Roses on, - and it is recommended to "bud them as low " as possible. It is better to bud them a few inches above the ground, - for the Manetti will throw up suckers which, if left, will kill the Rose, and they are better detached when we can see a little stem.
When people will have new Roses at the lowest price, - or where much wood is desired for propagating purposes, or where extra fine flowers of weak growing kinds are desired, budding on the Manetti is all very well, - but it is all very bad to use the Manetti for the general public. Practically the bed of choice grafted Roses, becomes all stocks in a few years.
In budding, select strong, healthy shoots, - and let the buds to be used for the inoculation be a little in advance of the stock. Works on Roses mostly still keep up the recommendation originally copied from English works to "take out the wood" from the bud, - but no American operator does it.
If you have more varieties than you care for, some of them poor, bud the rejected ones with the better kinds.
Scarce kinds of Roses may be propagated this month, by eyes of the unripened wood taken off just after flowering, and set in sandy soil in a shady place. Cuttings from shoots grown in partial shade root better than those matured in the full light.
As soon as a flower fades on the Perpetual Rose cut it off. This is the way to have them flower again well in the Fall.
All this is just as true to-day as when we first wrote it. No wonder so many clergymen are tempted to use up old sermons! When Sir Walter Scott tells us he loaned a neighboring lady the same book four times over in four years, before she came to believe "she thought she had read something like it before," we may take it as a gospel truth.
Hollyhocks will be coming into bloom at this season. They have now become so much improved as to be one of the most popular flowers for the Summer decoration of the flower-garden. If the kinds are kept carefully separate, any particular variety will reproduce itself from seed. They may be more certainly kept pure by cutting off the flower stem; each bud will make a plant. The seed should be sown as soon as ripe in a light rich soil, in the open air. If retained till late in the season, they will not properly flower until the next year.
Amateurs may have some rare or choice shrub they desire to increase. They may now be propagated by layers. This is done by taking a strong and vigorous shoot of the present season's growth, slitting the shoot a few inches from its base, and burying it a few inches under the soil, or into a pot of soil provided for the purpose. Any thing can be propagated by layers ; and it is an excellent mode of raising rare things that can be but with difficulty increased by any other.
The time is coming when transplanted trees of the past Fall and Spring will suffer more than during any other part of the season. If they show a vigorous growth of young wood, no danger need be apprehended, as it indicates that the roots are active and can supply all the moisture the foliage calls for; but if no growth has been made, no roots have been formed, and the leaves are living for the most part on the sap in the wood and bark, and hot, dry weather will tell with injurious effect on such trees. This is generally first shown by the peeling off of the bark on the southwestern side of the tree, - the most drying aspect; and where such exhaustion appears probable, much relief may be afforded by cutting back some of the branches, syringing with water occasionally, shading the trees where practicable, or wrapping the trunk in haybands, or shading the southwest with boughs or boards.
Plants set against walls and piazzas frequently suffer from want of water at this season, when even ground near them is quite wet. Draw away the soil around each plant so as to form a basin; fill in with a bucketful of water, allowing it time to gradually soak away, and when the surface has dried a little draw in loosely the soil over it, and it will do without water for some weeks. This applies to all plants wanting water through the season. If water is merely poured on the surface, it is made more compact by the weight of water, and the harder the soil becomes, the easier it dries ; and the result is, the more water you give the more is wanted.
Keep the pruning-knife busy through the trees and shrubs, with the object of securing good form. Judgment will soon teach one which shoots would spoil the shape if not taken out. We tried to impress this truth strongly on the reader's mind last month, but think it important enough to reiterate.