This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
A prettier object of greenhouse cultivation than this does not exist, nor one more useful and ornamental for the autumn and winter months. It may well be such an universal favourite. Years ago I gave more attention to it than I have done lately, and intend doing for the future. Then I always saved my own seed; but about three years since my stock had degenerated into small starry plain flowers, and I found it the same in a great many places. However, a friend supplied me with seed, and again I have the large deep rosy-coloured flowers, the admiration of all who see them. I sow the seed in March, and place it in a warm part of the greenhouse, or at the coldest end of a little stove. As soon as they are large enough, I put them into 3-inch pots; and when well established, I shift them into the blooming size, say 6-inch, keeping them in a cold frame all the summer. The soil I use is a mixture of equal parts turfy loam, peat, and old cow-dung, with some silver-sand. Nothing new in all this, many will say; but I send these few hints for new cultivators; and I will just add, that our seedsmen would do well to assure themselves that their seed of this flower, and of many others they vend, is really to be depended upon as saved from the best varieties, for I am sorry to say that there is just ground for complaint on this subject.
I have purchased seed of respectable houses, and at full price, with the assurance that it was to be relied upon, and have been mortified with the results. The first cost is a trifle compared with that involved in its cultivation. I am not speaking of the more rare species, for every one knows that eminent raisers will not part with their best seed; but I allude to the commoner varieties, such as the Primula, the Anemone, etc.