This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
If the part of the garden where the pots containing the Carnations are to stand has not been well drained and covered with a coat of clean gravel, it would be better to place them in rows on strips of wood about one inch and a half thick. This will be of great service during a wet season. Varieties of the habit of Flora's Garland should be staked early; in fact, all should be so treated before the roots have worked much: the stakes being of a large size would cause some injury to the roots if put in at a later period. Tie them securely as they advance. The old foliage will now be fast decaying; this will cause the plants to have a yellow appearance for a time: they will require frequent going over with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors to trim off all that is decayed. If aphides make their appearance (which is generally the case at this time), use the brush as before recommended.
1. Beck's Incomparable. 2. HoyLe's Crusader.
3. Foster's Gypsey Bride.
It is very unsightly, as well as injurious to the plants, to allow the soil to become hard upon the surface; we make a point of never allowing it to remain in this state a day after it has become dry enough to loosen. Top-dress with a mixture of half-decayed manure and half loam late in April or early in May, when the important task of disbudding must commence. Two blooms of the largest kinds to a stem are sufficient, if grown for exhibition: those we thin to one bloom in Carnations are:
Easom's Admiral Curzon. Hepworth's Brilliant. Summerscale's Capt. Edwards. Ashworth's King. Ely's Sir H. Gough. Martin's Splendid.
„ Mercutio. Holmes' Count Pauline. Ely's Great Britain.
„ Lord Milton.
„ William Caxton. Wakefield's Paul Pry. Elliott's Rainbow.
„ Victory. Holliday's T. Sharp, Esq. „ Thomas Hewlett.
Smith's Queen Victoria. Willmer's Queen Victoria. Young's Twyford Perfection.
Mansley's Bonny Bess. Barrenger's Earl Spencer. Ely's John Wright. Lee's Napoleon. Turner's Princess Charlotte. Millwood's Premier. Evans' Queen Victoria. Jackson's Squire Trow. Holliday's Vernon Smith.
Brown's Bishop of Gloucester. Hepworth's Claudiana. Wigg's Earl of Leicester. Hardwick's Firebrand. Ely's King of Scarlets.
„ Lord Morpeth.
„ North Midland. Simpson's Queen Victoria.
Ely's Lady Gardener.
„ Lady Ely.
„ Lovely Ann. Elliott's Martha. May's Rosetta.
Of Picotees, the following are also allowed but one bloom:
Brooks' Duchess of Cambridge. Burroughes' Emma.
„ Miss Burdett Coutts.
Edmond's Jenny Lind. Headley's King James. Hudson's Unique.
Crouch's Ivanhoe. Burroughes' Lady A. Peel. Dickson's Mrs. Traliar. Barnard's Mrs. Barnard. Gatlitf's Proconsul. Headley's Venus.
Burroughes' Duke of Newcastle.
„ General Jackson.
Turner's Ernestine. Ely's Favourite.
„ Field-Marshal. Brinkler's Lady Chesterfield. Sharp's L'Elegante. Holliday's Marquis of Exeter. Wood's Princess Alice. Costar's Richard Cobden. „ Triumph.
This is our practice; and perhaps we disbud harder than any other grower. The state of the plant should in a certain degree be considered. It must be borne in mind also that our plants are for exhibition: more blooms should remain if grown for other purposes.
Varieties throwing up blooms too early to be of service, and which have short thick pods, should have the leading bud pulled out, leaving two side ones. Whether for exhibition or not, the buds of all full flowers should be secured, either with India-rubber bands or bass: some use silk; we prefer bass. The tying of the buds is simple enough; but care should be taken in splitting open each division of the calyx, otherwise the guard-petals may receive some injury. There has not been much improvement in the method of carding and securing the blooms since Mr. Hogg's time; we will not therefore enlarge on this point. The cards cannot be put on too soon after the guard-petals have dropped. With regard to dressing Carnations and Picotees, as well as Pinks, those that have a good perception of what a flower ought to be, as well as a quick eye to its imperfections, will soon be able, with a little patience and perseverance, to accomplish all that can be done in hiding its faults and in shewing its beauties to advantage.
It is superfluous to add, that Carnations and Picotees cannot be bloomed in any thing like perfection without some kind of shelter during the time they are opening and in flower; we prefer an erection with a glass roof, open at the sides, shaded with canvass blinds, similar to those of a Geranium-house, but the canvass should be thicker than for that flower. As soon as the bloom is over, lose no time in getting them down, as it is termed, or layering them.
We have observed that almost every grower recommends piping as the best method for propagating these flowers, yet very few follow this practice, and those few to a very limited extent only. Who would like to see the finest Carnations and Picotees staged without the green foliage to set them off? which must be lost if piping is resorted to as a method of increasing the plants. But little good will be done if this operation is performed after June: we only pipe such cuttings as are too high up the plant for layering; and having no reason to complain of our plants from layers, and this mode being the least trouble, we prefer it.
We hope this brief account of our practice will be of service to some. It will at all times give us the greatest pleasure to offer information on the cultivation of any flower we grow for exhibition; and we should be still more pleased if others would use the pages of The Florist, and communicate the results of their practice more liberally than they do. We have many first-rate growers of the Carnation and Picotee, who perhaps think they are too much engaged to do so. Might not we say the same? Are we not as fully occupied as any of our brethren? In The Florist and Garden Miscellany we have a really independent organ. Our expectations of its success are being realised. We can bear witness to its having made many cultivators. We wish to see our place in its pages taken by others; and in retiring, after two years' humble services, we can but express our earnest desire that we may see it increase in circulation to the full amount asked by its Superintendent; and in this wish we acknowledge we have some feeling of selfishness, because we believe its readers will assuredly become purchasers, and it is purchasers men in the trade want.
Royal Nursery, Slough.