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.
A genus of dwarf Pea flowering shrubs from New Holland chiefly. They are all greenhouse plants, flowering in early summer mainly, though there are several that flower in autumn. They are free-flowering plants for the most part; but this quality depends very much upon management in all cases. If the wood is not thoroughly ripened the previous autumn, not much profusion of bloom may be expected. In order the better to ripen the wood, as soon as the growth has begun to harden about midsummer, the plants should be placed in a position out of doors where they will be freely exposed to light and air. Early in autumn let them be removed indoors, or put in a cold frame, where the lights can be put on to prevent them being saturated at the roots with the rains. Abundant ventilation is necessary at all seasons while the weather is mild, but the temperature should not be allowed to fall below 45° minimum in winter. Peat and loam in nearly equal proportions, and of the best quality, light and fibrous, and rendered porous with a free mixture of gritty sand, form an excellent compost for them. Small shifts only are advisable.
Propagate by seeds, which require to be steeped in water for some hours before sowing - they will germinate more quickly after steeping; also by cuttings of half-ripened wood put in sandy compost in a cool propagating-house under a bell-glass. Being rather apt to damp, the glass should be tilted a little on one side after the first two or three days are over.
Pot them off as soon as they are well rooted, in order to prevent matting, and consequent destruction of the roots. The following are some of the best: -
Bossiaea cordifolia, a dwarf dense-growing shrub, of pretty good habit, and easily trained by a little attention to pinching during summer into excellent form. The branches are closely crowded with small heart-shaped, sharp-pointed leaves; the flowers are yellow and purplish crimson, in clusters at the extremities of the previous year's laterals, and they open in April, May, and June, but may be retarded or accelerated in opening, according to desire, by management as regards temperature.
A looser-growing kind than the last, but perfectly easy to form into a handsome compact shrub by means of pinching in the growing season. The leaves are narrow egg-shaped, rather broader at the point than the base; the flowers yellow, produced from early summer to late autumn.
This sort is of somewhat straggling or trailing habit. The leaves are very rigidly arranged in two rows along the branches, with long, rather conspicuous stipules. The flowers are yellow, with a deep-red blotch at the base of the standard or upper petal; they open in March and continue far into summer.