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.
The soil which is to receive the summer and autumn flowering plants should (where vacant) be in good healthy condition, having been well turned up to the weather. Any manuring or addition of soil necessary should be given without delay, and the soil well broken, to be ready when the plants are taken to their quarters. It is not profitable to be in a great hurry, as severe weather is often experienced at end of month. All hardier kinds should be planted first, leaving the most tender kinds to end of month or first week in June. Decide on the style in which the plants are to be arranged. Calculate the numbers required, and number the stock which are ready for planting, then set about the work vigorously till all are planted. The patchwork system (carpeting) seems to have had its day, and has not now so many admirers. And no wonder, when one sees so much ground unnaturally covered with small shapes, made with flowers and foliage, and these forms not of the most pleasing character either; but there are styles of this bedding in the hands of some men who are able to make it pleasing, and the opposite of what is often practised. The effort to cram as many kinds and colours on one bed or border is all that is studied by some.
There is no beauty in this; but it is not our duty to try to regulate taste. Another evil which is not checked is the cutting up of lawns into beds, probably among fine trees, with no other object in view but to stick flowers about. A flower-garden in its place is all very well, but nothing is so pleasing and beautiful as a well-kept lawn round a dwelling; and insignificant beds among fine trees are much out of harmony and good taste.
Hardy Annuals may now be sown : they mostly require good ground and proper attention to thinning. More Mignonette and Sweet Peas may be sown. Propagate all spring-flowering plants by cuttings or divisions. When done with for the season, the plants should be arranged in the store-garden, and kept clean and orderly till wanted. Plant out Violets : they may be increased by cutting and divisions. Polyanthus may be increased in the same manner. Stocks and Asters may be planted in quantity - they are always acceptable. Pansies in full flower may require a soaking of water. Young plants not turned out should have prompt attention. They do well on rich cool soil, well trenched; a surfacing of thoroughly rotten manure would do much to establish a long blooming season. Dahlias should be gradually-hardened before they are turned out; and it may be necessary in some localities to protect the plants with flower-pots at night: they are easily destroyed by frost. Herbaceous borders and beds should be well hoed, and stake all plants requiring it. Phloxes, Delphiniums, and suchlike soon get destroyed if left to themselves. Roses may be examined for grubs. A good soaking of manure-water before they flower would be of much service to them.
Lawns may still be renovated by fresh surfacing of soil and good seed sown. All weeds in grass should be removed, walks thoroughly cleaned, edgings cut often, and everything in thorough good keeping. Lime-water destroys worms.
Newly planted beds may require a good soaking of water, and the hoe nicely used afterwards when dry enough to form a loose surface : very little water may be wanted for some time to come. Proceed with tender kinds as soon as they are ready. Alternan-theras, Coleus, and others of this class, may be planted into their various forms forthwith : thorough keeping will do the rest. Box-edgings well trimmed; grass close and velvety, free from weeds; clean weedless walks, - are some of the items which go far to make a garden enjoyable; but reverse this, and gardening loses its best charms. We would therefore urge amateurs and others to be contented with small space well done, than larger breadths in shabby condition. In gardens of a larger class disorder is too common, and those to blame in most cases are the proprietors themselves. Annuals for late bloom may now be sown, and all plants of a hardy character prepared for autumn flowering should now be out and growing. This applies to Stocks, Asters, Marigolds, Dahlias, etc. Stake the latter early and securely, also Hollyhocks and other tall plants. Herbaceous plants may require much labour in the way of staking, trimming off dead or dying flowers, hoeing and breaking the surface.
Those newly planted may require water, and give it liberally when it is done. Gladiolus forwarded in pots may now be planted. All should have the appearance of finish in the various beds and borders - whether they be shrubs, Roses, or bedding plants. Cut out all dead branches from shrubs which have remained after the winter's frost : give a soaking of water to those newly planted. Mulching may be of much service to such, - -"-also to Roses; they should have a good soaking of manure-water as they come into flower. Take off suckers; look out for grubs curled in the leaf, which eat the flowers. Sow Mignonette in patches where Roses may have died off, and plants are not at hand to fill the space. Place all shade-loving plants behind hedges, walls, or fences : place the pots on ashes. This applies to such as Polyanthus, Carnations, and Auriculas.