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.
Alterations and renovations may now close as soon as possible. Flower-gardens should now assume a dressy appearance. Mowing, rolling, sweeping, clipping, and other operations should have due attention. Any attempt at display is labour lost where untidiness prevails. Better a small patch of well-kept garden than acres of rough unkept ground. Grass should not be kept at all except it cm be well done. Grass-seeds may be sown to improve lawns. Box may be clipped : it is not too late to plant it if a soaking of water is given afterwards; but dribbling outside is as great an evil as it is an apology for watering inside. Tulips and other bulbs will now be flowering well. If they are a speciality, they may be protected with canvas. All spring flowering-plants should be kept in good trim. A display of choice flowers at this season is no mean item in a garden, whether large or small. Sow Mignonette and Sweet Peas in the borders, where they are to flower. Sow in a gentle warmth, Stocks, Asters, Marigolds, and others, to be afterwards pricked out under protection, and planted when all danger of frost is past. Hardy bedding-plants, where ground is ready, may be planted according to taste. Keep in view what tender things are to be associated with them.
Other bedders may be kept on growing steadily, increasing air as the plants are gaining vigour. Exposing the stock of plants to drought and heat is a means of getting a weak stock, and many losses must be sustained.
Calceolarias may be planted into frames, turf-pits, or other make-shift structures (good substantial pits are always the cheapest structures in the end), using good turfy loam (a little leaf-mould will do no harm); they can then be planted out in May. If kept hardy by light and air, they are not crippled if exposed to a little frost. Pannes, Stocks which have been wintered in pots, Carnations, Pinks, Violas, and other hardy kinds, may be planted in well-prepared rich soil, free from stagnant water. Dahlias may be potted on, and if large and healthy, they will flower early in August (we have seen a tolerable show of them early in July). Any herbaceous plants, either from seed, cuttings, or divisions, may be planted in their flowering quarters. These useful plants either should be done well, or not grown at all. The amount of work some require is considerable; but there are others, again, which need almost no attention after being well planted.
Auriculas, Carnations, Picotees, and similar plants to flower in pots, should not be kept coddled. Fill the lights up back and front when weather is wet, and when dry take them off altogether. Surface them with rich loam and rotten cow-manure. Worms and bid drainage will soon ruin the stock, should such exist. A shady but airy position suits them well. Chrysanthemums should be grown with plenty of air and light, and not allowed to become pot-bound. These easily-grown plants are often ruined by coddling them, and undue stopping of the shoots.