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.
There will now be abundance of work pegging young growths into their positions. Trim any which are out of bounds, and pick off decaying flowers which have served their purpose. No weeds should find a place in either beds or borders. Surface-stirring may be done freely; it is more advantageous than some believe. Good soakings of water may be given when necessary; dribbling on surface is worse than useless. Smooth firm walks often rolled, especially after being softened by rain, well-mown grass, and neatly-cut edgings, are some of the items which make gardens pleasant-looking. At end of month is a good time to begin propagating any scarce plants, a stock of which is desirable. Verbenas when established early stand the winter well. Dahlias and Hollyhocks require staking and thinning. Hollyhocks for competition should be kept thin of stalks and flowers. Gladioli and all tall herbaceous plants should be neatly staked; and Roses now require frequent attention. Dead flowers, suckers, and insects must be dealt with in a summary manner.
The planting of bulbs such as Hyacinths, Narcissus, Crocuses, Jonquils, Scillas, Daffodils, Early Tulips, Snowdrops, etc, may be done before end of the month. All do well in rich, well-drained, deeply cultivated ground; but these would not be too late if planted next month. Some prefer plantations made of them at different periods. Plants for spring gardening may be planted as early as circumstances will allow. Arabis, Alyssum, Aubrietias, Daisies, Pansies, Chrysanthemums, where they do well in borders under protection, may be planted, but they are seldom seen presentable out of doors. Calceolarias, Pansies, and other plants of a hardy character, may be propagated in pits or frames. Pansies often do well under hand-lights and temporary lights, but a slight protection during severe weather is of great advantage to them, and they can be hardened in spring and planted out strong-flowering plants. Ours planted last April are now full of flowers. The kinds are, Purity, White, Tory, Purple, Sir Walter Scott, Blue, Golden Queen, Blue Cap, and some others. They are in extra-rich soil, deeply cultivated, and well stirred on the surface to keep out drought. They were only watered once.
Sedums of sorts, Cerastium, Menthas, Ajuga reptans and variegata, Aralias of sorts, and similar hardy plants, may be placed in a border to have them in quantity at planting time. Lifting and potting of flowering-plants of the more tender class may now be done. Frost may come at any time; last season it was very severe at first, and caused losses to many. Even tender plants in frames are not safe. Alternantheras, Iresines, Heliotropes, and suchlike, should be made safe at night. If the stock of Pelargoniums is not abundant, a number of old plants may be lifted : they do well for centres. Strip off plenty of leaves to prevent damping. Trim in the roots a little, and pot in sandy loam, using as small pots as possible. Variegated, bronzes, and tricolors may have extra care taken with them; a little dry heat with plenty of air would be of service in starting new roots. Bottom-heat in a mild form would aid them greatly. Store all cuttings and plants in quarters free from damp. Hedge-cutting, turfing, walk-repairing, may be pushed forward.
Dahlias, Cannas, and other plants in danger of frost may be lifted and placed in dry quarters free from frost. They can be gone over some wet day and cleaned. If it is desirable to leave these in the ground, means (by coverings of ashes or litter) should be taken to prevent injury by frost. When Dahlias have been left in the ground they come up with extra strength, and can be treated as if they were herbaceous plants.
Finish bulb-planting and other spring bedding-plants. Protect plants on walls, such as Myrtles, Fuchsias, etc, which are not really hardy - one cannot forget the frost of last season, and how many were caught napping. Fern, Spruce branches placed over a little straw, or straw mats, are some of the useful means adopted as protection. Bedding-plants should be looked over frequently; avoid making their roots sodden, but intense dryness is also an evil that should be avoided. Pansies and Calceolarias, not made into cuttings where such are wanted, may have attention without delay - a cool dry pit suits both of these well. We often (in fact more or less every year) put Pansies on an open border, but those which can have protection in extra severe weather are best at planting-time. Rose-planting may now have attention : deeply trenched and well manured ground suits Ptoses. If they are budded, or grafted close to the roots of the stocks (which is best), the junction should be buried when planted, and the whole well mulched with farmyard manure. Turfing, gravelling walks, destruction of weeds in lawns, turning walks, collecting leaves, and repairing box or other edgings, are some of the items for consideration at this season : and the sooner they have attention the better.
Tree and shrub planting may be pushed forward without delay. Thinning of trees may have attention at any time in the winter months; as the neglect of this means early ruin of shrubs and trees. Stake well - or use ropes forming triangles round the stems of the trees, employing cloth or haybands to protect the bark.