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.
Fruit-trees, where in health, will now be making growth; and where space is to be filled up, steps should now be taken to secure that end. Direct as many shoots as may be required over the empty wall, so that when they have grown as far as required, short side shoots will complete the tree - the latter, of course, to come next season. It is a too common practice to allow trees to become too thick at the beginning: in such a condition they never fruit freely. Gross watery growths should be stopped, which will cause them to send out a number of lateral shoots: as many of them as may be wanted can be fastened to the wall, and the others may be stopped to form spurs; - the latter should be formed close to the wall, rubbing every outward-growing shoot off. This is the most important time to get well-formed trees established. Old trees need not be kept too hard stopped in, as they are not so likely to become too gross; but in all cases, crowding of wood and foliage is a great evil. Trees lately planted may require a good soaking of water. The surface of the soil should not be allowed to become hard and cracked. Standard trees may be helped to form pyramids or neat bush trees by timely thinning and training.
When leading shoots are left to themselves, others suffer in proportion to the vigour of the former. This also applies to Gooseberries and Currants; but time can seldom be spared to attend to these operations at this important season. Raspberries should be gone through with a fork, and the superfluous suckers taken out, leaving enough for next year's supply. Where crops of fruit are set thickly they should be thinned by degrees: - much may fall off stone fruit, Pears, and Apples. As a rule, all thinning required, whether wood or fruit, should be done by degrees. If insects make their appearance they must be promptly attacked - delay with them is certain ruin. The curling of Apricot-trees is a signal that enemies are encamped there, and can only be got rid of by hand-picking. Alum and hellebore-powder mixed in water and syringed on bushes keeps caterpillars off. Soap-suds, with some water added to it, is a useful application in the early part of growth. Strawberries will now require straw or other material put down to keep the fruit clean. Short grass is still used by some, but, to say the least of it, the practice is a bad one: weeds and slugs have a benefit from this material, and the fruit is apt to rot or get a bad taste from it.
A good soaking of manure-water does much for Strawberries when applied just as the fruit is set, and mulching applied afterwards.
If the season is showery, as it is while I write, weeds and grass will give much labour. I can from experience sympathise with those who have much of this to do with limited means, while other work is also abundant; gardening then becomes a struggle, and not a pleasure. It is much better to limit the extent of lawns, walks, flower-beds, etc, and do them well, rather than have a large space badly kept. Dandelions, Docks, and other deeply-rooted weeds, can be got rid of by putting salt in the holes where the roots have been pulled out. Get as much out of the ground as possible. Where lawns and walks are situated near to old pastures and wild-growing plantations, deep-rooted weeds will always be abundant. In flower-gardens most of the work in the way of planting will be done: a free surface and plenty of moisture are now the principal helps to secure free growth. Continued drenchings of cold water will only retard growth: give it in abundance when required, and have done with it.
Dahlias are safer when they are staked as soon as planted: a good watering when weather is mild, a neat mulching of rotten manure covered with soil, will generally keep the plants all right for a long time, and then manure-water can be given with great advantage. Roses may be attacked with grubs - hand-picking is the only sure remedy we know for getting rid of the pest. Brompton Stocks to stand the winter may be sown. Carnations, Picotees, and Pinks may be propagated by pipings: under hand-lights in a shady position suits well. Ranunculus will now take plenty of water - manure-water is advantageous to such gross feeders. A sowing of Sweet Peas may be made for a late supply. Mignonette may yet be sown. Propagate Pansies from side shoots. Cinerarias, Chrysanthemums, Primulas, and Calceolarias must have careful attention: with water, cleanliness, etc, as formerly advised, free healthy growth should be made now. Stake Liliums, and place the plants in a protected position out of doors: help them wdth manure-water when they are coming into flower. All plants for autumn flowering of a half-hardy character should be placed out of doors in a protected position, and kept clean and well supplied with water. A pit or frame where lights can be used during heavy rains is advantageous.
Shift Fuchsias liberally for late blooming. They like plenty of pot-room and good turfy loam. Manure-water when they are in flower is of great service to them. Zonale Pelargoniums - ornamental-leaved kinds for decoration under glass - should now make free growth, and not be cramped in too small pots. Lobelias, shrubby Calceolarias, Salvias, Verbenas (show kinds), Balsams, Cockscombs, Globe Amaranthus, etc, in absence of more rare thiags, should have their share of attention, as where a "blaze" of flower is required in a conservatory, they will certainly give it. Common Ferns from the woods we have often used for mixing with flowering plants, and they are as telling as many of the best exotics. But these common things in a starved condition are worthless.
Shading of plants in flower from sun now requires attention, to prolong their beauty. All newly-potted plants (especially seedlings) require to be kept shaded and rather close till free growth again takes place; then they want abundance of air. Camellias, for early flowering, may be taken out of heat as soon as their bloom-buds are formed. Under a framework of canvas or other shady material is a good position for them till they are fit to stand the weather: under the shade of a wall or fence answers when taken there on a mild dull day. Sudden changes often cause Camellias to shed their bloom-buds. Those making their wood should have plenty of moisture, and be shaded from strong sunshine. Keep them and Oranges free from scale, etc. ' Winter-flowering Heaths, Epacris, Oranges, Cytisus, Acacias, and other winter-flowering plants, should be hardened gradually, when they have made plenty of growth. They require abundance of water and free drainage. Plants in pots are all the better if they can be tilted up to throw off heavy rains. Achimenes, Gloxinias, Gesnerias, Eucharis Amazonica, Poinsettias, and a host of similar things, can be grown on in frames or pits during this season.
Plenty of tepid water at their roots, shifting to larger pots as they require it, turning round to the light, syringing and shutting up early with sun-heat, airing judiciously, and shading from sun, are their chief requirements. Turfy loam, peat, and sand will grow these well. All stove-plants require shading more or less. M. T.