This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
"No gradual bloom is wanting; - Nor broad carnations, nor gay spotted pinks; Nor, shower'd from every bush, the damask-rose: Infinite numbers, delicacies, smells, With hues on hues expression cannot paint - The breath of Nature, and her endless bloom".
Notwithstanding the frosts and snows of April, the Cuckoo and the Nightingale have not deferred their annual visit; the former was heard here on the 20th of April, and the latter on the evening of the 30th. We venture to prophesy that the 1st of June will find gardeners in good humour, because of the abundance of well-set fruit-blossoms, and the general exuberance of natural objects. It is rather unpoetical to have so much cold weather in April, but its results are beneficial. Vegetation is checked at the right time, and the later frosts become comparatively harmless.
The flower-beds must be filled at once with the tender plants reserved for them, if not done before. Bulbs which yet linger, and seem to be in the way of these summer operations, may be carefully taken up, and put somewhere else until the foliage is withered. The beds which are to receive the new-comers should be well dug over, some leaf-mould being added. Choose a calm day, and turn the plants out of their pots, without deranging the roots, only removing the crocks, and gently squeezing the ball of earth, to alter the direction of the fibres. Press each plant firmly into its place, and give a good watering. When the new growth is made, be careful to give it a right direction at once, either by pegging down trailers, staking climbers, or stopping the shoots of shrubby productions, to regulate the formation of the head. Daily attention to these minute yet indispensable matters will bring the garden imperceptibly into a tasteful and satisfactory state, without any large portion of time being at once demanded.
Annuals require more care to grow them well than is generally given to them. "While some affect the sun, and some the shade," their habits are neglected; they are crowded together, so that no room is allowed for the development of the individual plant; and, to complete the caricature, the whole mass is tied to a stick, very much like a bunch of asparagus or an inverted birch-broom. All this is wrong, and must be altered if a fine display of annuals is desired. Their habits must be studied, plenty of room given, and artificial support so applied, that it shall lend a grace to nature, and not take it away. Plants of low, dwarfish growth must always be put near the edges of beds and borders, and the taller in the background. A pleasing gradation is thus produced, while awkwardness is the result of the contrary practice.
Rose-trees are infested in June with the leaf-rolling caterpillar, which dexterously involves itself in a shroud composed of the leaves nearest the flower-bud, which it drags as it were into its cave, and murders at its leisure. Unfortunately it is more fond of work than rest, and will commit sad damage unless it is checked. We find the best remedy is to go round with a basket, and pick off the curled leaves wherever we see them, caterpillar and all. We gave children last year a penny for every 500 grubs taken in this way, and they were well satisfied; for a garden of moderate size will sometimes contain myriads of these pests. This we believe to be, on the whole, the most effectual step to pursue; for tobacco-water and other nostrums are of doubtful efficacy. As we hinted last month, the study of entomology is highly important to gardeners, since it is only by an acquaintance with the habits of insects that their increase can be effectually prevented.
The Bury, Luton. Henry Burgess.