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.
It it only in Paris we can see window-gardening properly carried out In the first place, the houses are remarkable for their strength and solidity, and they all take a sloping direction towards the top. In the next place, in no other large town, or capital, which I have visited, are the balconies so numerous ; and what particularly deserves notice is that here the balconies are always the largest at and near the top of the house, where they may be generally seen rising above one another like so many terraces, loaded with plants and flowers, even to the sixth and seventh story.
Guernsey has long been famous for its Lilies ; it now promises to become equally celebrated for its Ixias. We have before us a handful of the most charming flowers of that kind which it is possible to imagine, for which we are indebted to Mr. Carre, a gentleman fond of gardening resident on the island. They are mules between conica, longiflora, we believe scillaris, and others, and look as if they had been gathered an hour ago at Cape Town, such is their vigour, such their perfect health. Some are white with a crimson eye, some wholly crimson; others are white and rose-coloured, golden yellow with crimson backs, pure yellow, or cream-coloured with a chocolate eye. Their fra-rance is that of Roses. All are from the open ground, no shelter being required in Guernsey. Can we have them here ? - Cottage Gardener.
Ferns have long been popular plants - nor is there popularity confined to one class of society - and for this reason - whilst all Ferns are beautiful, some of them are so cheap as to be within the purchasing power of all, and others are so scarce and costly as to be worthy companions of all that is rich and rare among the gems of the Stove and Conservatory.
The popularity of Ferns, however, does not rest only upon their beauty and their price, for they have, as an additional cause for their ready access to the good graces of the cultivator, that there is scarcely any place in which Ferns of some genera refuse to grow. Most of them thrive best in the shade; others prefer the brightest light ; a third group will live only on dry walls and chalky rocks ; a fourth succeed nowhere, except in abundant moisture ; a fifth revel in the freest air of the mountain top; and a sixth flourish verdantly for months, and even years, within the close confinement of a Wardian case.
Thus all purses and all situations - if neither the one nor the other are absolutely barren - can command a supply of Ferns. - lb.
Thousands of persons, fond of flowers, are, during a great portion of their lives, confined to the house, even if they have a garden or pleasure ground in which Flora's treasures are growing and blooming. To meet this love of the beautiful and gratify the taste, the common practice is to grow a rose or geranium in a pot upon the window-sill, or a stand near the window. Those who have command of means have had aquarias constructed, but rarely with any satisfaction to meet anticipation. Some time since, the London Gardener's Magazine gave a representation of a case constructed in the window by removing the entire lower sash, and then projecting a frame to cover the whole width of the sill, inside and out, raising the lights and curving them until the top met the lower part of the upper sash; the bottom of the case to be made like a draw, showing paneling, to give artistic appearance, and to have its drainage made so that any surplus water that should be given the plants would escape from the outside. In this draw the earth is to be placed, and tha plants either set directly in it or they may be in pots, and the draw filled to surround and cover the pots with moss.
The cost of construction of this form of window-case would be quite small, and, except in severe weather, it would be no trouble, and mostly out of the way. It should be made, of course, to fit the window, and movable on approach of really cold weather.
Another mode is to have a draw eight or ten inches deep, and projecting into the room four to eight inches, having the sides, or ends rather, carried up as panels next the window, and sash-doors hung on the inside opening into the room. In the draw, pieces of rock and soil are placed, and the plants set among them and trained as they grow up the side or end panel work. The effect of this in the long French window is very good, especially when care has been taken to get plants that are good climbers, and with broad glossy foliage.
A lady gardener says: "No plants ever gave me more pleasure, for winter flowering, than the maple geranium and the crocuses and hyacinths I had last winter. I place part of my hyacinths in glasses, with well water enough to just touch the bulbs, and let it remain until the roots reach the bottom of the glass, unless it begins to look woolly, when I change it; then I bring them out of the dark cellar and keep them in a room that will not freeze, changing the water once a week, and being careful to have it of the same temperature put in as that removed. The remainder of my hyacinths and crocuses for winter I put in boxes, small pots, etc., containing sandy soil, and let them remain until the roots are well started; then bring them up; water occasionally with liquid manure, and after the hyacinth trusses appear, sprinkle daily".