This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
If one wants to grow house plants well, the best lessons can often be had from some cottage window. It is surprising how well they often do. Some say it is because their owners love them; but love, without intelligent care, will not avail much. Why they often do better in a poor window than a richly-appointed greenhouse, a friend tells us, is because the greenhouse people coddle them too much. As with trees, too much care is often the worst of care. It seems to us the successful household seldom worries about re-potting often. The plants having plenty of roots in a smallish space, can take a great deal of water without injury. Not being over-potted, they do not get over-watered. Then loving fingers often turn over the leaves, and if an insect pest appears it is done for at once. These ravagers are not allowed to remain long enough to do much damage, and there is no worrying over tobacco, soap, hot water, or some nauseous compound, to be employed at much sad labor to get things to rights again.
Success with house plants cannot be taught by a magazine; it must be born of love and matured by experience.
There is quite an art in lifting plants from the open ground into pots, if they are to go on and bloom all the winter time. It will not do to let the leaves wilt much, or they will not get up again.
They have to be taken with reasonable ball, put into the smallest possible pot, well watered at once, and placed temporarily where the drying air will not draw the moisture from the leaves. The florist who has to lift Bouvardias or Chrysanthemums from the open ground to benches in the greenhouse, so as to have them in flower all winter, keeps the greenhouse closed, for a few days, so that the moisture cannot get out. He syringes, to add to the atmospheric moisture, and even shades the glass, for it is now known that light is as great an evaporator of water as heat itself. One with a few plants need not go to all this trouble, but can apply the lesson from the larger scale to the smaller one.
Chrysanthemums are becoming again, after having been down to zero in fashion, one of the most respectable of plants. They make a window or greenhouse gay until almost February, with proper care. They take a great deal of water, and if it is liquid manure-water, all the better, unless the soil is already very rich. It is now almost the universal custom to grow them in the open ground, in summer, and then lift into small pots at the present season of the year. But some plants will not lift well and go on flowering as if nothing happens, and of these is the ever-adorable rose. These must be grown in pots all summer, to flower in winter well.
Double Bulb Glass.
Dutch bulbs, though as popular in outdoor culture as ever, have not been met with as window plants as frequently of late years as they once were, though for why, no one knows. They are very beautiful and very sweet, and that they can be grown in water, and without the filth and constant attention required by pot plants, has always given them an additional interest. There was, however, always one drawback even to water-culture: the glasses would get filthy inside, and could not well be cleaned, and especially if, as is often desirable, some fertilizing material be added to the water. This difficulty has been overcome by an ingenious invention introduced by Mr. J. C. Schmidt, of Erfurt, Prussia, here represented. It is simply a double glass. The bulb and its roots can be taken out and placed temporarily in other water while the outer one is getting cleaned.