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.
As plants come into bloom outside, and gardens become gay, all plants inside should be of a showy or interesting character, not merely for a glare of flowers, but handsome and graceful in form, striking foliage, and well grown in every respect. Crowding is very objectionable. Ferns of sorts, Palms hardy enough for greenhouse, Ficus elas-tica, Cordylines, Dracaenas, variegated Yuccas, etc, mixed with Coleus, Fuchsias, Abutilons, Aralias, Oranges in fruit, and suchlike; then to enliven the whole, a few well-grown Azaleas (some flower as late as July), Acacias, Summer Heaths, Liliums, Pelargoniums, Tropaeo-lums, Pimeleas, Lapagerias, Genetyllis, Fuchsias, Begonias, Kalosan-thes, Hydrangeas, and others. But to fill the space and make a "blaze," one may cheaply pot on the choicest and most suitable plants left from the bedding stock. There is no difficulty in filling a structure, especially what amateurs generally can command. Balsams, Cockscombs, Globe Amaranthus, coming forward for flowering, should have plenty of room, light, and air : prepare them by air and light before they are moved to windows, vestibules, etc. Insects must be fought against at all points. Quassia-water syringed over plants once or twice weekly as a preventive, may keep the enemies off.
As plants get past bloom ing, let them be potted either into same size, first reducing the balls, or into larger if they require such. All New Holland plants require to be secured from strong sun. The pots placed on slates, and ashes laid round them, will help to save much watering, and be much better for the roots. Pot on all plants for autumn flowers - Chrysanthemums, Eupatoriums, and others. Get a good stock of Cinerarias, Calceolarias, Primulas, Salvias, Cyclamens, and Harrison's Musk on the way. Take Camellias and other plants from shade or heat, gradually and carefully, to stand outside.
It is often a difficult matter at this season to get all plants requiring potting attended at the proper time. There should, if possible, be no time lost in placing well-rooted plants into pots large enough to meet their requirements. When balls have to be reduced to allow fresh material without increasing size of pots, careful cutting of old roots should take place. Plants such as Azaleas, Heaths, and other subjects often require reducing. They must be dealt with carefully; cutting too deep into the ball might ruin them. A firm surfacing with suitable soil may be all that is needful by some. But when potting is done, let the soil be firmly packed between sides of pots and roots. Careful potting and watering are indispensable with hard-wood plants which grow slowly, and are easily killed: a large proportion of peat is necessary for these plants.
Cinerarias, Primulas, and early Calceolarias may require shifting. They do well in turfy loam and well-rotted leaf-mould mixed with a little sand: keep them cool and in a shady position. More Calceolaria seed may be sown for main late batch. Old plants kept for stock do not answer so well as seedlings. Cinerarias to be divided for cuttings must not suffer from want of water, or be left a prey to vermin. Chrysanthemums must be kept growing freely by being shifted to larger pots as they become ready. When stunted at roots by want of water or pot-room, their lower leaves are sure to become rusty and drop off. Stake them carefully. Flowering and foliage plants to keep the conservatory gay during autumn should now be well advanced and growing freely. Fuchsias drop their flowers readily when stunted by want of pot-room. Plants must be taken carefully from heat to the show-house; air them by degrees to withstand the change. This applies to Achimenes, Gloxinias, Gesnerias, etc. Stove-plants must not -be subjected to drying winds when in the show-house. Plenty of free-flowering plants to keep the structure gay were mentioned last month. In stoves all plants are growing freely.
Frequent examination for vermin, keeping the roots in healthy soil, and moisture properly applied, are their chief wants at present. Plants for autumn, winter, and spring display must be frequently examined at their roots to keep them healthy. Pot them as they require more room for their roots. Shut up early with moisture, and give a little air at night. M. T.