This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
The Wallflower, like good wine, needs no bush, and is esteemed for simplicity of culture, though most of all because of its fragrance and adaptability to British gardens. In short, it is one of the oldest and sweetest of garden flowers.
Its cultural requirements are simple enough, the plant delighting in poor and stony soils as opposed to those of much better quality. Hence the cheapest land available is suited to this crop; and because of the ease with which the plant is raised, and the cheap rate at which both plants and flowers are sold, this important fact should be kept in view by the commercial gardener.
Sow the seeds out-of-doors in April, transplant the seedlings, as soon as large enough, to nursery beds, and finally, in September, transfer them to the open field or nursery quarters. In large degree the plants may be grown under fruit trees or at field margins, where land is less generally well tilled. On chalk soils the plant is quite at home. It is a mistake to allow the seedlings too long in the seedbed. The Wallflower, being a taprooting subject, if left too long, is robbed of its root fibres, and makes but little subsequent progress.
WOMEN PICKING WALLFLOWER ON Mr. BARNFIELD'S FRUIT AND FLOWER FARM.
AT FELTHAM, MIDDLESEX.
Photos, Chas. L Clarke.
Wallflowers may be had in dwarf or tall varieties, though Harbinger, Fire King, Belvoir Castle, and Eastern Queen are among the best. Planted at 1 ft. apart or rather less, an acre would contain nearly 50,000 plants, which, at 2s. per 100, or, say, 16s. per 1000, would yield roughly about £40. Allowing of this amount £10 for culture, a good margin still remains for rent, rates, etc, and - profit. In any case it is a crop to grow, owing to its great popularity with all classes. [e. h. j].
Gillies, or Wallflowers, are a standard and reliable catch crop or undercrop in the Evesham district, and a large quantity are grown. They are valuable aids to keeping the balance on the right side of the ledger, and the cost of production is very small. Sometimes the seed is sown where the plants are to flower, and they are thinned accordingly. Others are planted out from the seed bed; but in all cases the bulk of them are grown under the Plum trees. As early flowers are most valuable the seed must be sown early, February being the usual time. Usually Wallflowers come into flower in about twelve months from the sowing of the seed; that is, they commence to flower in that period. Therefore those who wish to have them in flower in April should sow the seed in April; those who wish to have Wallflowers in February and March must sow much earlier, then they will not be disappointed in ordinary seasons.