This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", 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.
The beautiful, waxy, pure-white flowers of the former, and the delicate rose-coloured flowers of the latter, afford a rich and pleasing contrast when grown adjacent to each other, and, backed up with luxuriant dark-green foliage, have a most noble appearance, and are universally admired. Both varieties can be increased, though slowly, by cuttings put in any time from October to December, choosing well-ripened wood that has not flowered for the purpose. Cut the shoots into cuttings with four to five eyes on each - two to be inserted in the soil, and two or three above, with leaves attached, using small, 4-inch pots. Drain them well, and fill them with a compost consisting of equal parts light loam and peat, with a good sprinkling of sand and powdered charcoal. Insert the cuttings firmly all round the edge of the pot; water them with a fine rose, and place them in a cool, moist pit, in a shady position. They can also be propagated by layers, when the plants are at rest; and if the plants to be operated on are planted out, the shoots should be laid in the border in soil prepared for them, the same as for cuttings, making a neat, clean cut up the centre of the growth, and pegging them into the soil the same as Carnations. If pot specimens are to be increased, use 5- or 6-inch pots to lay the shoots in, and let them stand on the stage round the stool, or on inverted pots, so that they may be in a proper position, and easily got at for watering for after they begin to make roots, which will not be till well on in the following season, they must be looked over daily.
As soon as they are well rooted and commencing to grow the second season, pot them off singly - using pots in proportion to the size of the plants - in the same soil as recommended for striking them in, and always let the young shoots have a small stake or piece of string adjusted for them to twine up. As the plants grow on into size, shift them into larger pots those of a deep make being preferable, as the roots always incline to go downwards using the soil in a rougher state, such as turfy loam and peat, with some lumps of sandstone and charcoal, and a few quarter-inch bones intermixed always minding to drain the pots well, and give them an abundant supply of water at the roots when making their growth. If they are intended for exhibition purposes, they must be trained on a balloon or other trellis, but allowed to run freely when making their growth, and tied down at the end of the season before coming into flower, They also do well planted out, and trained on the back-wall or rafters of the greenhouse and conservatory; but in such cases the border must be made up for them.
In doing so dig out the natural soil 3 or 4 feet deep, and as much or more all round as can be found convenient, to afford plenty of space for the roots to run freely but, as already stated, they incline mostly to strike downwards - hence the border should be of a good depth. To insure perfect drainage, a layer of broken bricks should be laid in the bottom, over which place another layer of broken pots, etc, and then some of the roughest of the soil, which should be prepared by mixing equal parts turfy loam and peat, a good addition of charcoal and quarter-inch bones, and some lumps of white sandstone; and if the loam is very heavy, a small portion of bruised sandstone should be added. Having the border made up with this compost, and the plant to be put in well established in an 8- or 9-inch pot, it will be safer to wait until growth is fairly commenced before planting out; and in doing so, carefully relieve any of the roots that may have been twining round the sides of the pot, and clear away all the crocks from the bottom of the ball, planting deep enough to cover the whole of the ball, and then cover the surface with fine gravel.
After planting give a good soaking of tepid water to settle the soil about the roots, and regulate and tie out the shoots to the wires with small slips of matting, taking care not to break their points. The plants must also have attention during summer, so as to keep every shoot in position, as they are apt to get twisted together when growing, and are not easily separated without damaging the foliage. A slight touch with the syringe on fine afternoons will also prove of great advantage in keeping the foliage free from dust, vermin, etc.; and a weak solution of soft soap and water applied with the syringe over the foliage once a-week will also help to ward off green-fly, etc, which are sometimes troublesome when the growths are young and in a succulent state, and when it would be dangerous to apply the fumigator, as we have invariably found that the tobacco-smoke kills the young shoots, making them quite black and shrivelled before the fly seems to suffer. All plants, either in pots or planted out, must have an abundant supply of water at their roots during the growing season, not given in dribblets, but a thorough soaking at a time and weak liquid-manure occasionally will be found very beneficial up to the time the plants have finished flowering.
They are also the better of a little shade in hot, sunny weather, until they stop growing, when they should be fully exposed to light and air, so as to thoroughly ripen the wood, on which depends a great deal the quantity and quality of the flowers. After the plants are done flowering they should be kept very cool, and have less water at the roots, but be by no means allowed to become too dry, as they will in that case suffer. Dundonian.
[Along with this we received a bunch of blooms, which are wonderful for size and substance. - Ed].