Lilacs need about five weeks in the greenhouse and always sell well and are good for cutting if not sold.
Metrosideros (bottle brush) is very odd and finds favor with a few, but the sale is limited. It should be always grown one year with us before being sold.
Several varieties of erica are great favorites at Easter and are very largely used in the baskets of plants. All the ericas are known to the public as heather, but heather is the Scotch name of its native erica or heath.
An Easter Automobile.
Hyacinths and Asparagus in Twig Basket.
Easter Plant Arrangements.
Acacia armata, called often Mimosa paradoxa, is a beautiful plant, but should not be offered for sale the season that it is imported. Cut down and grown in pots during the summer it makes a beautiful plant the following winter or spring. It will be too early for Easter unless kept very cool. A. Drummondii is also very pretty and can be treated the same way.
Deutzia gracilis is most easy to force and should be given seven to eight weeks in the greenhouse.
Spiraea (astilbe) is always wanted for church decoration, and when people learn that a spiraea should always be stood in a saucer with an inch of water in it they will find it a long lasting house plant.
Mignonette in 4-inch and 5-inch pots sells well and should command a good price, as it takes six or seven months to grow a good pot. Plants can't be forced; they must come along slowly, with a strong, sturdy growth in a cool house.
Lily of the valley in pots and pans sells well.
If made up out of a bed when in full bloom they are just as lasting as if grown in the pot and a much finer show can be made. It is just water they live on.
The old Dutch hyacinth always will be a favorite with many people. We believe only good bulbs should be used for this purpose. They are grown singly in a 4-inch pot, and in groups of three or more. A 10-inch or 12-inch pan containing a dozen grand spikes of one variety of hyacinth and trimmed with the right shade of paper is a rich affair and attracts the well-to-do.
Tulips and daffodils are grown in 6-inch, 7-inch and 8-inch pans and find a ready sale because they are inexpensive.
Roses there is always a demand for, especially hybrid perpetuals. Plants that are lifted from your own grounds after the wood is ripe and carefully and gradually brought along need from ten to twelve weeks in the greenhouse. The best pot roses I have ever seen of this class were a lot of American Beauty that had grown on a bench the previous summer, slightly dried off at the end of October and lifted the middle of November, potted into 6-inch pots and kept in a cold pit away from severe freezing till the middle of Jan-miry, when they were brought in and started very cool. By Easter, which was then in about eleven weeks, they were a great sight - five or six good blooms on 18-inch stems, with lots of buds to come. They outsold anything we had and would have been a splendid paying crop had we not cut a rose the previous summer.
The Crimson Rambler, the Farquhar Rambler, Dorothy Perkins - all make splendid Easter plants. Our experience is that if the plants are lifted from the ground the previous fall they must be brought along very carefully and slowly, so you must allow thirteen or fourteen weeks under glass, the first half of which they must be cool. If the plants have made their growth the previous summer in pots, the wood will be better ripened and the roots, not being disturbed, can be given more heat at the start, so that ten weeks in the houses will do.
The white Marguerite, if well pinched in the field and kept cool during winter, makes a grand plant for church decorations. It is truly decorative and is one of the very best house plants known, blooming and flourishing in the dry air of a room for weeks.
Hardy shrubs of many kinds are occasionally tried as Easter plants, the snowball (viburnum) particularly, but we have not found people willing to pay for cost of room they have occupied.
Don't forget the 50-cent customers. A good 4-inch zonal geranium, a hyacinth or a 6-inch pan of pansies will fill the bill.
There is a small and select demand for a pot of violets. If the spring is mild and early you can get them from the coldframe two or three weeks before selling time, but if the season is backward lift from the beds the plants that show the most buds, and only lift them a week or two before you want them. I may have missed some plants that many readers grow in their locality, but remember that if I have failed to notice them here I have under their alphabetical order given them due notice if in my opinion they are worth growing especially as an Easter plant.
It is always well to be supplied with a stock of moderate sized palms, pan-danus, ficus. dracaenas, ferns and ferneries, but these plants are of value the year round and do not need any special mention here.
Don't think you can bring in a lot of lilies or azaleas in the fall and by giving them a certain temperature have them in good order for Easter. Plants in the same batch treated just the same will be a month later or earlier than others. They must be moved as their condition requires. I think one winter some years ago that I moved my Harrisii at least six times, every plant, and many of them a dozen times, but it paid, for out of 1,500 plants I don't believe there were ten that did not open precisely a few days before Easter. It can be done, but not without thought, earnest thought, and active work.