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.
Most people are acquainted with the proper mode of outdoor treatment. In short, their whole requirements are comprised in being planted in good rich peaty soil, well drained, screened from cutting blasts, and if possible in some measure shaded from the mid-day sun, with an open sky above. This, with copious supplies of water while making wood, is about all they need. Now let us suppose it is autumn and we have a goodly number of plants in full bud, some of which we desire to force a little for conservatory use. We should at once select what we require of those known to be the earliest, have them potted into well-drained pots and put under glass, with no artificial heat until New Year's Day. The soil should be of equal parts turfy peat, leaf-mould, and a portion of loam and old reduced manure. Although the plants are at this season in a semi-dormant state, their roots ought to be moderately supplied with water and the soil never allowed to get very dry.
Early in the year, when forcing commences, water must be copiously given, with occasional syringing over the foliage; the air also must be kept in a humid state, and all the sunshine going admitted to them; temperature 50° to 55° for the first week or two, then a rise of 5° more as the month advances. This quiet mode of procedure will secure much better results than severe forcing. We make no allusion to any of those very early forcing sorts which are expected to blossom at the end of the year. When the flowers begin to open, exchange their places for others, and put those flowering into the show-house; and when they have done duty in the conservatory, return them again into heat to complete their growth, supplying water always without stint.