This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
I have grown during the last twenty years nearly all the different kinds of Florists' flowers, and with tolerable success; but the Pansy has always been my favourite, and has had the most of my attention. I would recommend those who wish to be successful in its cultivation, etc, and to excel at floricultural exhibitions, to read and act upon the instructions given by Mr. Turner, of Slough, in the former Numbers of your truly valuable work.
This is by far the best article on the subject that I have seen; if any one has any doubt about it, I would direct him to the success which attends Mr. T. at all the places where he exhibits; I have no recollection of ever finding his stands any thing but first. I have also observed that the stands placed second and third have, in many instances, contained nearly the same varieties; to me a, sufficient proof of the superiority of Mr. T.'s mode of culture.
In vol. i. p. 24, Mr. Turner says: "Entire beds have been known to shank-off during a very hot summer; and all we can say on this part of the subject is, that the farther the Pansy is removed from its original state by high cultivation, the more they shank-off in this manner: plants that appear to be full of health and vigour in the morning will be down before midday, as if they had been severed with a knife." This is a fact well known to all Pansy growers; moreover, watering, shading, etc. will not restore them after they have once fallen. To remedy the evil must be our next consideration. My plan is simply this: as soon as I find the plants drooping, I immediately take off all the young shoots, and prepare them in the usual way (as cuttings); I then insert the lower parts of the stems in cold water (say one inch deep) for twenty-four hours; and have invariably found, after this simple treatment, the withered shoots so far renovated as to take root, and grow almost as well as if nothing had happened.
In conclusion, allow me to recommend all cultivators of what are termed Florists' flowers to use charcoal broken into pieces the size of a nut, or smaller; for quantity, say a tenth part of the whole. I have used this year for striking or rooting Pansy-cuttings, Pink-pipings, Rose-cuttings, etc. equal parts of charcoal, leaf-mould, yellow loam, and sea-sand, and I never succeeded so well, or had my plants in such fine condition.
Whitby, Dec. 6th, 1849. W. F.