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 fruit-garden there will be much annoyance from the depredations of insects and birds. Early Plums and Cherries are among the favourites of winged visitors, and, when they are not promptly covered by nets, mischief is often done to such an extent that all the fruit which can be saved would scarcely pay for gathering. Nets are expensive articles. In their absence, a tame bawk or two would do much to keep away birds. We often go over the fruit and pick them as they change for ripening, and lay them on dry clean shelves to ripen. Vineries and Peach houses, cleared of their fruit, suit well for ripening stone fruit. Wasps are easily trapped with beer and sugar placed in bottles and hung up among the branches. Lumps of sugar keep insects engaged while the fruit is ripening. Hexagon netting will save much trouble and anxiety. Young growths on fruit-trees may now be kept well cleared off, to allow the fruit-bearing wood to ripen. Thickly-matted trees are generally followed by an absence of fruit. There is generalty too much time wasted in nailing in or tying up wood on wall-trees; half the quantity of wood is often enough. The injury done to walls by the undue use of nails cannot be too strongly denounced.
Now is the time to do justice to the trees: train out as many leaders as will cover the wall and be about 12 inches apart at top; gross wood may be stopped, and the consequence will be a number of smaller shoots will break out, and they can be placed in position if they are required; the side shoots are to be retained to cover the wall, always allowing room for the foliage to develop itself; everything growing straight out from the wall should be taken clean off.
If growth is over-luxuriant, it may be checked by moving away some of the soil from one side of the tree, getting under the trunk; and if any roots are growing straight down, they might be cut clean off: but, while advising this, the destruction of good fibry roots is to be avoided. Make the soil thoroughly firm under the roots, replacing it carefully. The tree will soon overcome this, and the roots will again be growing by autumn.
If the growths have not been taken from Pears and Apples piecemeal, they should have attention now. Go over the upper part of the trees first, and after a week or two go over the lower part. Let the fruit be well exposed to sun and air. If red-spider should appear, let the engine play freely over the foliage.
If the desired quantity of Strawberries have not been planted, let them be got in without delay. Give plenty of space if the ground is deep and rich, and abundance of water. If there are no young plants, some of the best of the outside crowns may be taken from plants which are to be trenched down. If they are planted firmly on well-manured ground, they will soon be fine fruitful plants. But certainly this practice is not in preference to young plants, or those forced last season.
The chief work in the flower-garden now is picking off decaying flowers, cutting in growths within bounds, to keep the beds and borders uniform. The continued use of the shears, scythe, and hoe is necessary to high-keeping. A flower-garden, to be considered highly kept, should always have the appearance that no work is or has been going on. Few places, however, can master matters in this way. It is always the best policy to keep a portion of the ground thoroughly, instead of a large space only half done. If plants have been placed thickly in the beds to fill up at once, they should be thinned out before they become matted. Prompt attention to the amenities of gardening is most conducive to success. The alternate system of rough and smooth is far too common. Dahlias should be frequently gone over and fastened to their stakes; prevent them from getting too thick j cut off flowers as they get past their best, except where seed is wanted. Hollyhocks should be stripped of their decaying flowers, and all bad leaves taken from the base of the plants. They should have abundance of manure water. Climbing plants will be growing freely, and must have attention with tying and trimming off what is not wanted, but they should not be made stiff and formal looking.
Roses require a deal of work to keep them orderly; suckers and decaying flowers must be kept off, and abundance of manure water, if the soil is not rich and of stony texture: bud favourite sorts. Weeding or salting of walks will now claim attention. Roll well after rain - a smooth surface is very desirable, but this is impossible with some kinds of gravel. Keep pods picked off Sweet Peas, to keep them vigorous. They may be topped well back when they are over-growing their stakes; give them plenty of manure water. Stake Cloves and Carnations, and if very fine flowers are wanted, reduce their number and water with liquid manure. Let a good stock of cuttings be put in, and layers, if they have not already had attention. Cut off decaying blooms; prevention of seeding keeps the plants vigorous. Chrysanthemums will now require plenty of water; liquid manure may be given occasionally; keep them (and all other plants) turned round to the sun to maintain equal growth; stake out in good time to keep the foliage healthy and prevent crowding in the hearts.
Propagate bedding-plants without delay. Verbenas do well at this season when placed in frames in rather a shady position; prevent flagging of the foliage, - they will root more freely. Take young tops off Fuchsias, to supply plants for next season; those flowering require liberal soakings of manure water. Keep late-flowering Pelargoniums, Heliotropes, Coleus, Petunias, Salvias, and all similar plants for conservatory decoration, growing freely. Let them get once pot-bound, and limit their supply of water, and their value for autumn flowering is at an end. Cinerarias and Primulas required for early flowering should be kept in small-sized pots, and when they show flower, a liberal shift may be given. Those for general supply must have plenty of root-room and free drainage. Water-logged roots, or if they are allowed to starve for want of moisture, will give much disappointment. It should, however, be kept in mind that potting should be done so that the roots will fill the pots before winter, as, when they are buried in large quantities of soil at that season, they are in a dangerous condition. Let Azaleas, Camellias, Cytisus, Coronillas, and similar plants, be well ripened by sun, and water moderately.
Keep Calceolarias growing in rather a cool and shady position; they must have abundance of air. Achimenes will bloom late, if they have plenty of water and are not subjected to cold draughts. Heaths, and any of the more delicate greenhouse plants, should be taken under glass if they are now out. All hardy plants for early-forcing purposes should be kept well in the sun to ripen them early. Roses in pots should have their blooms well kept off, and root-action encouraged. Stage Pelargoniums should now be cut down, after being well ripened in the sun. Shake out those which have broke an inch or so, and pot them in smaller pots. W. T.