This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
The mode of cultivating these beautiful flowers has been so often given to the public, that it may appear something like presumption in me to offer any thing with a promise of being either new or interesting. But, in compliance with the request of numerous private growers who have witnessed our bloom during the last few seasons, I purpose laying before the readers of The Florist, as concisely as I can, my system of managing these deservedly favourite flowers. I will not say that my plan is the best, but it shall be what it professes to be, viz. a plain account of the treatment given them throughout the year, commencing with the present time.
Oct, 1. Many will now have their plants potted and established; ours never experience that operation before the first of this month. I recommend this as the best time for such work; for when not done now, there is often the additional labour of giving a trifling shift in November, causing the plants to make fresh growth, and to become more tender at the time they should be resting and well hardened; they are also liable to become so pot-bound that they are almost sure to suffer at some time or other. If they are even potted at this season, the soil should be any thing but light; for although the plants will make greater progress at first, they are more liable to spot, and dry too rapidly. Good drainage is quite an essential in the culture of these flowers.
Many growers winter their choicest plants one in a pot, instead of the usual pair of plants. They do very well either way; but I usually grow varieties liable to spot, and which require to be placed at a greater distance from each other in the frames, one in a pot. Unless for a very strong well-rooted plant, the pot should not be so large as that used for a pair, for some varieties dislike to be over-potted. I find that the following succeed best in rather smaller-sized pots than usual, say middle sixties; unless, as I have just observed, the plant is very vigorous. One sized pot, however, does not always answer; and therefore both middle and large sixties should be on the bench when potting, in order that either size may be used as may be required. The smaller-sized pot answers best for Martin's Splendid, S.B.; Lord Rancliffe, S.B.; Admiral Curzon, S.B.; Great Britain, C.B.; Thomas Hewlett, C.B.; Sarah Payne, P.B.; Millwood's Premier, P.F.; King of Scarlets, S.F.; Lorenzo, R.F.; Lady Ely, R.F. Picotees - Marris' Prince Albert, P.E.; Green's Queen, S.E.; Mrs. Barnard, R.E.; Lady Dacre, R.E.; Jessica, P.E.; Princess Alice, P.E.; Augusta, P.E.; Delicata, P.E.; Ivanhoe, R.E.; and several others of similar habit.
In the operation of taking the plants from the stools for potting, give them a clean cut close under the joint which was cut in layering. Pull out any side-shoots from the layer that are at all long, and pot tolerably firm; when this is done, place the plants in cold pits or frames, near the glass, and keep them close for a week without water, when they should have a good soaking and a little air given them. If water is administered before this period, air must be admitted also; a little shade will be necessary if the weather be bright and sunny.
Royal Nursery, Slough.
[To be continued].