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 work in this department is much as was recommended for last month. A general preparation for harvesting the stock through the winter should now have attention. The washing of all glass houses, lights of pits, frames, etc, may with every advantage be done now, heating apparatus examined, painting, done, or any other work which will aid the keeping of the plants in good condition during the winter season. All hard-wood plants should be overhauled: surfaced if wanted, drainage put right, pots washed, worms eradicated, staked where wanted (much of this is ruinous to the appearance of the plants), and any trimming required (for appearance' sake, which will not injure the plants) should have attention at "housing time." All soft wooded plants, such as Pelargoniums, Cinerarias, Calceolarias, Kalosanthes, etc, requiring more pot-room, should get it before growth becomes sluggish, and while there are sun and air to help them on. Cut down stage Pelargoniums which are for late work. Those which are well broken into fresh growth should be shaken out and re-potted into smaller sizes, using rather sandy soil for this work, which gives plenty of fibre for next shift, when the soil is richer and the shifts of some size. Fumigate with tobacco three times a week, to keep aphis in check.
Plants not required for the conservatory for some time should be arranged in classes - as examples, Azaleas by themselves; also Heaths and Epacris; and so on, according to time of flowering or taking to forcing-house. They should be in lots ready to be removed as required, without disarranging the whole stock. Roses of the Tea class, and Chinas, should be put right at roots by sound drainage, surfacing, or potting, if they require it. All inert soil should be taken away, as far as it can be spared, and replaced with good wholesome loam and very rotten manure; but nothing should be given to sour the soil: much manure in pot-soil always does mischief. Plants done flowering, and to be used next year, should not be treated carelessly, as sometimes is the case when good servants have finished their work for the season; but they should be placed in pits or other structures, and the necessary requirements allowed them. This applies to Veronicas of sorts, Kalosan-thes, Hydrangeas, Fuchsias, Statices, and suchlike : a little trimming of huge growths may be necessary. All potting should be done early enough, so that the roots may be established in the fresh soil before winter sets in.
The whole stock of forcing-plants should now have their flower - buds well ripened, and be ready, after a fair season of rest, to start gently into flower at the proper time. Early prepared Camellias will now be well forward, and some showing their colours : water them and all such with much care. When drainage is good, they should have good soakings when they need it. It may now be better to water all plants in the mornings, so that they and the structures in which they are placed may be dry and clean at night. The airing of cool houses must now be done judiciously, and if a damp time should set in, gentle fires may be required. Potting of bulbs will now have attention : good turfy loam, with a little well-rotted manure and sand mixed, suits most kinds. Hyacinths may be potted, one to three in each pot; each potful should be one kind. The same applies to Tulips, Narcissus, and Jonquils -using pots suitable for the positions in which they are to be placed. Tulips may be well covered with the soil; Hyacinths and Narcissus, only a third of them should be under the soil.
All, when potted, may be placed under 3 or 4 inches of old tan or leaf-mould, till their pots are full of roots and they have begun to grow; then they may be brought forward in greenhouse temperature slowly, forcing a few as they are required. Potting may be done from September to the middle of October or later, putting in a proportionate quantity of bulbs each time : successions will come into use accordingly. In the show-house, such plants as were referred to last month will still be in good bloom. Less shading will be needed as the season advances. Plants introduced now should be of neat and distinct habit. Creepers - such as Plumbago capensis, Habrothamnus, Lapagerias, Kennedyias, etc. - may require cutting-in a little to prevent matting; but wholesale clearing is damaging for next year's supply of flowers. Chrysanthemums, Salvias, Eupatoriuins, etc, should now be well forward and ready to do their part. The two first may be aided with clear manure-water as soon as their buds are set; a good rich surfacing will do much to keep them in vigour.
In the stove, a bed of tan with warmth to start Gardenias, Ixorias, Jasmine sambac, Eucharis, and other flowers for early winter, may be of great service; but if the plants are to be taken to cooler structures or rooms, they must be removed gradually from bottom-heat as the buds begin to open, otherwise dropping of blooms would take place. All the Stocks should be examined and put right at the roots for winter. Sponging and cleaning should be done thoroughly. Pot-bound plants would suffer during the winter - better risk a shift than allow them to be injured by starvation : extra drainage should be allowed when potting is done late. Creepers should be cut in, to allow light to the whole house. Air as freely as circumstances will allow : let syringing decrease gradually. When fire is used, it should as yet be moderately; but the weather is the best guide to this. Heat may range about 65° at night, rising 10° with sun-heat. Gross spongy growth is very objectionable at this season of year. Look to all winter-flowering plants in pits and frames : they must not be starved by cold and damp. See that they are not rooting through their pots, and have root-room. In stoves such plants are now more manageable.
Plenty of Gesnerias, Libonias, Euphorbias, Epiphyllums, Poinsettias, Thyrsa-canthus, Scutellarias, and suchlike, are of immense value where flowers are wanted during winter. Calanthes should be well forward for early flowers : the soil about their roots should not be allowed to become sour or sodden.