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.
This is another fine, easily-forcing plant, and a great favourite with all. When in much request for cutting, a good breadth should be grown on a piece of rich ground shaded from the mid-day sun, paying attention through the summer in keeping it clean. If a long time of dry weather sets in, a good watering with manure-water will be found beneficial. As soon as the foliage has faded in autumn a quantity-may be lifted, all the large full crowns taken and put into a box, packing them close together in light sandy loam and watering well. We find, by placing them in our Mushroom-house, which ranges about 60°, they come sooner and better than some we had in a light house with the same temperature. We let them stand until the flowers are nearly full grown before removing them to a shelf close to the glass with the same temperature. They soon lose the blanched appearance assumed in the Mushroom-house. By keeping some in pots from year to year, and treating them in the same way, they make fine plants for the conservatory. They should never be neglected in watering; it is a good plan to stand them in saucers of water all the time of blooming. Nothing is more handsome for button-holes than two or three spikes put into one of their own leaves.
Those grown in pots should have a good rich soil, with plenty of old cow-dung amongst it. When done flowering, care should be taken that they get no check by taking them from the greenhouse and exposing them in cold frosty weather. After the severe weather is past, plunge them outside and attend well to them through the summer, when they will make fine plants for another season. A. H.
(To be continued).
Of these, again, I much prefer home-grown clumps or single crown to those imported, and, where possible, shall grow my own accordingly. The east border, well manured, is the most favourable site, but I have seen good crowns taken from a north border. The time for dividing the clumps is past; this being best done before growth commences. If, during the winter, I had an old bed to break up, the crowns would be separated, the plumpest that gave promise of flowering being either potted or packed closely in shallow boxes, forcing them as required. The remainder would either be planted rather thinly and irregularly in beds 4 or 5 feet wide, with 1-foot paths between to admit of hand-weeding, or, as many prefer, especially if the preference is given to single crowns, in lines 9 inches apart and 1 inch asunder in the rows. Many of these would flower the next season, but it is advisable to simply mulch with rotten manure, and allow them to remain for another year. These Lilies are surface-rooting, and should therefore be planted shallowly and be hand-weeded. Whenever a breadth is lifted, another should be planted with the small crowns separated from the flowering ones.
For the earliest supply of bloom, both in the case of Lily of the Valley and Hoteia, it is a good practice to retain a few in pots of the strongest and least forced, watering these frequently with liquid manure, plunging them in a warm border, and encouraging to root through. These will mature early, and be most suitable for early forcing.