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.
Whatever may be the diversity of opinion among cultivators in regard to the summer management of fruit-trees, the practice of divesting them of all useless growths when active growth has ceased is generally recognised as "being essential to ripening of fruit and wood, thus keeping the tree under control; and where there is a tendency to over-luxuriant growth, by the roots growing down into a bad subsoil, etc, the neglect of summer and autumn pruning or stopping increases the evil. Retain enough wood for next season; but crowding it only gives disappointment. The foliage should be preserved with all care. If root treatment is put in practice at this season, great caution is necessary not to overdo it. We could, if space would permit, give some sad examples of reckless destruction of roots. All fruits should be as well exposed to sun and air as circumstances will permit; placing the leaves on one side and tying them back may be done with advantage. If trees are very heavily cropped, many of the fruit may be thinned out for kitchen use, which will allow that which is left to mature itself. Netting must have attention, otherwise the best portion of the fruit may be destroyed. Hexagon netting is excellent for all purposes, as flies and wasps are by it excluded.
Bottles with beer and sugar may trap many. Morello Cherries, Red and White Currants, Golden Drop and other late-hanging Plums, are a ready prey for wasps at this season. Strawberries from which runners have been potted and the fruit gathered may have all runners, weeds, and dead foliage cleared off, and a good hoeing, which will help them to prepare for another season. Notwithstanding the objection I always have had to mutilating the foliage of strawberry plants, I freely admit that there are some, who are successful growers, who cut off every leaf early in the autumn. The plants are again clothed with foliage before winter, ready for next season's work. I intend, this season, to give this practice an impartial trial, clearing off a few alternate rows in a plot. I have often planted crowns from old plants with no foliage left. They have become established before winter, and done well the following season.
The flower-garden and pleasure-ground will now be at their best; and to keep them neat and orderly much labour is necessary. Plants growing over sides of borders and beds are untidy, and detract much from the appearance of the garden. Staking and tying up tall-growing plants, such as Hollyhocks, Dahlias, etc, must not be neglected. Great damage is often sustained at this season from wind. Geraniums and other close-growing plants may have grown thickly together: judicious thinning will be necessary, keeping the best of the shoots for cuttings. Pelargoniums root well in the open borders; but when placed in pots and boxes full in the sun, they can be easily removed under cover, and arranged for the winter. Verbenas, Salvias, Heliotropes, etc, do well in frames - at first kept close and shaded from sun; and when growth begins, air and light are given, till they can be freely exposed and hardened for the winter. Sandy loam and leaf-mould answer well for most things; plenty of drainage should be placed in the boxes and pots, keeping the rougher part of the soil downwards, and making it finer at the surface. Early-budded Roses may now require to be relieved of their ties, but only where the buds are taking hold of the stock.
Cut off all shoots to allow the strength of the plant to go to the bud. Roses now past their best should have all suckers carefully removed; pick off all decaying flowers and seed-pods, and use sulphur for mildew. Rooted Pinks may be planted out in nursery-beds, or where they are to flower: 6 inches apart each way will answer. Finish layering Carnations and Cloves, if not already done. Chrysanthemums (which have been growing from the beginning in the open ground) may, towards the end of the month, be gone round with a clean spade, and cut into the sizes to fit the pots they are intended to occupy later in the season: getting the balls of roots early in order gives little check. Where the early-flowering kinds have well filled their pots with roots, they may have plenty of manure - water; and when the flower-buds are formed, a good surfacing of rich stuff will do much for them. Anemones, which are useful border flowers, may now be sown in boxes. Some of the common sorts do well in the open border, some in drills, and lifted to their flowering positions at the proper time. Pansy cuttings do well now if placed behind a wall, or in a frame where they are to remain through the winter.
Many hardy plants in the borders may be increased from cuttings put in now.
Pelargoniums which have been cut down, and are broken freely, should be shaken out of their old pots, the roots well trimmed back, and potted in good loam mixed with sand, using pots large enough only to contain the roots nicely. Cinerarias and Calceolarias should now be kept growing freely, shifting the plants to larger pots before they become pot-bound. Cool treatment suits them best. They require abundance of air, and to be shaded from strong sun. Heaths and other greenhouse hard-wooded plants will now require as free an exposure as they can bear. Young growths will require hardening gradually. If lights can be spared for throwing off heavy rains, they will be of much service in promoting healthy root-action. Where there are no lights, the more delicate kinds may be placed on their sides when rain is heavy. Fuchsias, Balsams, and such plants in bloom, with their pots well filled with roots, will require plenty of water, and their blooms preserved by shading from strong sun. Dead leaves and decaying flowers should be kept off. Surface-stirring and well-washed pots are essential to health of plants. All climbers should be kept within bounds, but not tied in formally.
Their natural beauty should be retained as much as means will allow.
Window plants will now require much water, and their foliage to be frequently wetted by syringe or watering-rose. Surface dressings will do much to prolong their flowering period; insects must be kept off. Ferns and similar plants suffer readily from hot sun; attention to shade and atmospheric moisture must have due attention for them. Insects should have quarters nowhere. Clarke's insect-destroyer, tobacco-powder dusted on and washed off again, and fumigating with tobacco, are remedies easily got at. Forcing plants, such as Lilacs, Deutzias, Hardy Azaleas, and many similar winter and spring forcing-plants, should be placed full in the sun, to forward their flower-buds and get them in order for flowering. M. T.