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.
Among other plants remarkable for elegance is the Cardinal Flower, which in the last summer months may be found along our swampy grounds, near fresh water streams. From its great beauty and showy appearance it is a great favorite in Europe, and is generally cultivated in pots. It is a perennial plant, growing in a single stem from two to three feet high; leaves from three to five inches long and an inch or more in breadth, with a long tapering base. Flowers of a bright scarlet color, and very showy. Although it is wild, and is generally found in marshy or wet ground, and borders of rivulets, it grows readily when transplanted into a dry soil in a shady position. It is in flower from August to October. We have removed some of these plants to our garden in the month of April, and planted them in a moist, shady place, where they grew and flourished finely, producing abundance of splendid flowers the same season, and were much admired by all who saw them.
The first and most essential requisite for the health-and even the life of plants suspended in baskets, is sufficiently frequent watering. Their wants in this respect vary, of course, with the size of the baskets and the material used. Wire baskets, in addition to being sprinkled every day and the Moss kept fresh, are greatly benefited by an occasional dipping in water. Wood and terra cotta baskets evaporate only at the surface, and, therefore, need less frequent watering. Partial shade is essential to the healthy growth and luxuriance which are desirable in a hanging-basket. If exposed all day to the full glare of the summer sun, no amount of watering or care can preserve the plants from a parched and shrivelled appearance. Another requisite to the health and full development of plants in baskets, is, that they should not be overcrowded. Those which are bought from the florist's ready made are almost invariably either overgrown or overcrowded.- Cultivator.
A lady in Kansas gives her plan of caring for house plants, as follows: "I live in a frame house, and last winter kept fifty pots of different kinds of geraniums, roses, fuchsias, and remontant pinks, all of which received the same kind of treatment, and in the spring my plants were more healthy and the leaves a dark green color.
Many came to me for slips in preference to the greenhouses. Every two weeks all the winter I would take a handful of tobacco stems and steep them by pouring boiling water over them until it looked like strong tea, then, when the tea cooled enough to bear the hand, I poured it over the plants. Sometimes the leaves would wilt for a few moments and then straighten out and have that bright fresh look they have in summer after a shower. Then 1 would weaken the tea a little more and wet the ground in the pots, and I have no red spider nor green fly."
A sub-evergeen hothouse herbaceous plant, from South America. This is the finest of the genus, which embraces upwards of thirty kinds; it will grow and flower very freely, treated as a summer bedding plant, placed in the center of a round bed surrounded by yellow flowering calceolaria; then a row of ageratum celestinum, pegged down; and lastly, by a row of dwarf variegated geraniums, - form a beautiful and very attractive bed.