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.
In the columns of a garden periodical, that, like the 'Gardener,' circulates so extensively among the amateur element of horticulture, there is a necessity for information in regard to the merits or demerits of many of those things that, comprehended under the general term "garden requisites," are pressed upon the notice of the amateur horticulturists by those whose business it is to vend them. At the head of this paper I have placed two of these things, the which I have tried for some time past, and to the excellence of both of which I can speak in terms of unqualified approval. The first named is a patent manure, manufactured by Mr B. Standen of East Greenwich, and sold in canisters in a pulverised form. It is so issued as that it can be adapted both to the requirements of hard-wooded and soft-wooded plants in pots; while it is so easy of application as to admit of its being done with the greatest facility. My use of it has been confined to soft-wooded plants, and succulent things, like Hyacinths, Narcissi, etc, in pots, and to many things in the open ground, and especially Roses. In applying it to plants in pots, it is simply necessary to lay a little of the powder on the surface of the soil, allowing it to be washed into it when water is applied in the ordinary form.
It should not touch the foliage, as it would appear to be capable of doing it injury. Hyacinths and other bulbs, Pelargoniums, Fuchsias, Calceolarias, have become wonderfully invigorated under its influence - affecting foliage and flowers alike in the most beneficent manner. Out of doors I have found it exercise a like influence for good on Roses. I have to plant on a clay soil, which soon eats up, as it were, any manure that may be applied to it, and in dry weather I have given at intervals a little of this manure, and the effect has been remarkable; increased vigour, fineness and richness of flower, and prolonged bloom have surely succeeded. I have also witnessed its beneficial influence on hard-wooded plants in an even more remarkable manner. A friend of mine purchased some old Orange-trees in boxes, that were, when they came into his possession, almost shapeless trunks, devoid of foliage, the leafless branches appearing to be quite paralysed for want of stimulus. I thought these almost barren trees offered a good opportunity to test the invigorating value of this manure, and a few applications converted mere trunks in due time into healthy trees, redundant with foliage, and they are now ornaments in my friend's conservatory.
This is but one of several instances in which I have intently watched the issue of a trial of this agent, and saw in the result the most desired effects visible. Only a few days ago, when walking through the Ashburnham Park Nursery, at Chelsea, with the manager, Mr John Wills, late of Huntroyde Gardens, Burnley, I was much struck with the healthy appearance of a number of quarter-specimen Azaleas, in such vigorous growth as to present an aspect I had failed to perceive elsewhere. "That," said Mr Wills, "is entirely owing to Standen's Manure. A year ago those plants were in wretched condition. I gave them, during the past summer, several applications of the manure, just placing it on the surface of the soil, when it was carried to the roots at the time water was applied, and behold the result." I need scarcely say that Mr Wills is a firm believer in the merits of the manure. I can honestly commend it to the attention of all amateur horticulturists, especially as it is by no means extravagant in price.
Fowler's Gardener's Insecticide is a composition for the purpose of destroying greenfly, etc, on plants. This it does most effectually, and it is the only thing I use in my out-door garden for the purpose. A stated quantity is dissolved in boiling water, and when it has cooled down to a temperature of about 80 degrees, the shoots affected with thrip, greenfly, or aphis, are bent down and immersed in the solution, and immediate death is the result. It is also a real amateur's friend, and it is so easy of application as that a lady could do it readily. Whether it will also destroy the scale and mealy bug, I cannot say; it is asserted to do so Be this as it may, as a destroyer of greenfly and its allies, it should be classed among the necessary requisites of an amateur horticulturist. Richard Dean.