This section is from the book "The Gardener V3", 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.
Auriculas will again be on the move, and the first opportunity should be taken to go over the stock and surface-dress those requiring it. Young plants repotted in autumn we do not intend to surface-dress, but will either give them manure-water or a little chemical manure. To get offsets to take to the soil quickly, keep them for a short while in a mean temperature of 55°. A compost of equal parts loam and fmely-broken-up cow-dung, to which a little coarse sand and soot have been added, is suitable for surface-dressing.
Pentstemons, if wanted extra strong, may now be lifted out of the cutting-frame and potted into a rich compost: 5-inch pots are a suitable size. Place them in a structure where they are safe from frost. By the end of April, when planted out, they will be splendid plants, and produce extra-fine spikes of bloom. I tried some thus last year, and intend to grow a few the same way again. Those left in the cutting-frame will bloom later.
Do not be tempted by fine weather to put out these, or other hardy flowers, as Pyrethrums, Pinks, Picotees, etc, for there is nothing gained by putting them out before the end of March : they then get quickly established, and escape the drying winds prevalent in March. Do not be in a hurry to start Dahlias : cuttings struck in the end of April produce the best blooms. Gladiolus are also either planted or potted far too early. If they are got in about the middle of April, it is quite early enough. The soil is then sufficiently warm to induce rapid growth. Nor is there anything lost in earliness. Our stock last year commenced - Shakespeare and others - to flower at the middle of July, and we had a continuance of spikes till December.