This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
It is probable there are not many gardens in this country in which there may be varieties of American Apples. It was a matter of considerable interest to ourselves when, about five years ago, a dozen medium standard trees were sent root-and-branch packed in a box; and notwithstanding the long voyage, the roots were in excellent condition. They were forthwith planted in a suitable situation, with good maiden loam about the roots. Unfortunately there has scarcely been a favourable fruit season from then until now; but even this season, when, generally speaking, the Apple crop is abundant, there is no fruit on any of the American varieties. But what I have thought would be considered interesting, and instructive likewise, is the fact that a graft of the American variety which I put two years ago upon a dwarf standard tree (var, Lady's Finger) has three beautiful Apples upon it, and the appearance of the graft, which is very vigorous upon the stock, is most conspicuous. What may be learned from this fact is, that while American varieties may be too tender to stand our severe winters, yet by engrafting them upon hardy stocks of varieties grown in this country, success is likely to be the result.
Now a note or two regarding a plant which for about seventeen years I have grown here in the greenhouse : the name of it is Coleus orientalis. It flowers and seeds most profusely. I saved some seed last year, and thought by sowing it early in spring in heat, and getting it pricked out in the same way as Verbena venosa or Lobelia speciosa is done, it would be in readiness for the bedding-out season. I am very much pleased with the experiment, for it has succeeded admirably this season, which cannot be regarded as a highly favourable one for flowers, any more than it has hitherto been for the corn crop. To those who do not know it, or may not have seen it, I will try and describe it as well as I can. It is exceedingly dwarf and compact in its habit of growth, with broad foliage of a lively green, throwing up in the centre a strong robust spike from which issue several lateral spikes. In colour it is of a bright yellow, much more so than Golden Gem Calceolaria. It commences flowering at the base, and continues flowering up to the termination of the spike.
As a pot plant it requires staking, but as a bedding-out plant this is not necessary.
Just one other note and I have done for the present. Vallota purpurea is deservedly a popular pot plant, but sometimes it is over-potted. I have about a dozen 9-inch pots, in each of which there are three bulbs or plants: they have not got a shift for two years, and they could not possibly have flowered finer, as they are in great perfection of bloom and foliage at the present time, but they like good feeding, which they get with soot and dovecot manure in liquid form.