This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Most of our readers are acquainted with the spotted-leaved variety which is frequently seen as a decorative plant outside during summer and for rooms about Christmas; it is one of the most common plants seen in the squares and gardens of London, being about the only evergreen which can live in the city smoke. This plant is also quite hardy in England, at least it is only injured in such a winter as 60 and '61, when many of the native trees were killed. It is only of late years that the full beauty of this plant was developed by the introduction of the male variety; by planting this in proximity to the original plants, which were all females, the plants fruited, and were covered with its beautiful coral-colored berries; this was a great improvement to the English shrubberies, but as the plant is not hardy in this country, is no use for permanent decoration outside here, but tor winter greenhouse decoration it is a charming plant, and after the berries are set, it can be turned outside for the summer grower. In the form of a standard, three or four feet in height, it is very beautiful and covered with its bright red fruit was. much admired by all our visitors in the winter.
A few standard round-headed plants are always an improvement to the furnishing of a greenhouse, either in fruits or flowers, and when better known, this plant will be as generally grown in this country as it is in Europe.
Epiphyllum both in baskets and pots should be kept in full sun in the greenhouse to induce a free growth for winter flowering. These are essentially amateur plants, not suffering so readily as many others if neglected for a time for water, and few plants make so much show in the winter with so little trouble.
Othonna crassifolia is a plant which increases in our estimation on better acquaintance. It is an admirable basket plant, and flowers all the year. Some may object to the yellow color of the flowers, but we consider a few yellow flowers indispensable in general decoration, although we would not go the length of advocating the use of Alla-manda Schotti flowers in hand bouquets, which a disappointed exhibitor once did at a flower show at which we acted as a judge.
Winter Flowering Begonias will require shifting into larger pots as soon as small pots are well filled with roots, and the tall growing varieties should have stakes and a few tics to prevent them falling into each other. The foliage varieties, if large plants are required, should have good soil and an occasional watering with manure water when the pots are well filled with roots. To bring out the color well in the foliage of these varieties, the plants require shade and a moderate close house. These plants grow very well planted partially under the shade of stage and also among ferns, when shade is necessary for the other plants, although we have seen some fair results with foliage begonias planted outside in a shady position; but these plants should not be watered over the foliage, it frequently causes the leaves to rot off and also to decay in spots, which spoils the beauty of the plants.
Dirty Flower Posts should be looked up at this season; many are unoccupied and should be washed on wet days or other spare time, and placed away in the various sizes to be ready for use when required in the autumn. The pot bill is always a very serious item in the expenses of a large garden, for with the best care a number is continually broken, especially when, as often is the case, the pots and pans are thrown in a heap in some corner when empty, so that every time one is required a portion of the heap has to be sorted over to find the size required. We do not advocate stowing away under stages in greenhouses if there is any other place at liberty, the pots being about as ornamental as a collection of old boots and shoes would be in the same place; but if it is necessary to store under stages, first wash them thoroughly and place them away tidy in the various sizes, where they are not specially unsightly.