This has been given an extensive trial. Mr. C. W. Ward, of Queens, N. Y., has most thoroughly tested the system. While it has been proved that good flowers can be produced, they do not surpass those grown on a well drained bench in any respect. The sub-watered benches need greater care in handling than the ordinary benches, and being very expensive to construct it is not likely we shall hear much more of that unnatural method of watering the benches.
When the carnation first became an important flower with us any house was used to grow them in. Now thousands of houses are built expressly for the purpose. An ideal house would be an equal span twenty-two or twenty-eight feet wide. The 22-foot house will give you three benches, each five feet, and four paths. The side walls should be five feet and half of it glass. About half the heating pipes should be on the side walls and the other half distributed near the floor in the paths. No need of it beneath the benches, but there will be a better circulation of air among the plants if there are some heating pipes through the center of the house. The ridge should run east and west, or better still, northeast and southwest. Ample ventilation should be given by continuous ventilating sash on both sides of the ridge and if you can afford it ventilation on side walls is a great benefit in summer, but that is not absolutely necessary.
Blocks of connected houses are now built for carnations with high gutters. These are very light houses and less expensive to build, as well as to heat. Yet they are not so prefectly light as the equal span detached house with side glass. Much has been written of late about different kinds of benches. There is nothing that gives better results than the wooden bench from two feet to thirty inches high, and now we are using what is known as pecky cypress we shall not have to renew these wooden benches every three or four years. Some build a 4-inch brick wall some fifteen or sixteen inches high, fill in with ashes, then lay a floor of tile or hollow brick and finish off with a cement edging about five inches high and two inches thick. This must be a most excellent bench as nothing can be better drainage than the tile. Others build concrete walls four inches thick, but tapering thinner at top, and fifteen inches high, fill in with clinkers or rubble stone to within five inches of the top, and then the soil. We have proof that a bench of this pattern will grow good carnations, but prefer it higher, and also the tiles for drainage. There is also a bench made entirely of cement or concrete that must be everlasting, and you can have it any height or width you want. The great essential in any bench is a perfect drainage, and in a low bed, unless you have the heat well distributed among the paths, the plants so near the floor will not have the free circulation of air among the plants that a higher bench will have.