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.
IF unprovided with climbers for roof of greenhouse, do not omit to plant a few; a moderate amount of shade is an advantage to the plants grown below, if utility as well as ornament is required. There is no objection to training a few European varieties of grape vine on the roof; but if this is done, there must be provision made for training them outside to be protected during the winter, for the temperature required to grow flowers will continue the vines in growth, so the only crop grown will be leaves and insects, if there should be any of the latter in the house. In old-fashioned places, in England, there were frequently double side lights to fit the front of the houses, and the grape vines were turned down and wintered safely between the two lights; in other cases, the vines were simply turned outside and covered with boards or straw; but this was a very unsatisfactory plan, the vines being out of sight; and when uncovered, in spring, it was often found that rats and mice had taken lodgings in the same place and barked some or all the vines and rendered them useless.
To those requiring vines from a distance, winter is the best time to purchase them, for at that season being at rest, they can be packed in a small space and travel without injury, but when in foliage, although grown in pots, the leaves are tender and easily injured.
In a warm greenhouse, that is, a house in which the temperature does not fall below 50 deg., plant Passiflora Princesse; this plant flowers all the year, and the rich raceme of scarlet flowers are very useful cut for large vases of flowers; this plant grows best in a mixture of peat and loam, and requires a large quantity of water; if allowed to get very dry, the flower buds drop off without opening.
Thunbergia Harissi is another valuable plant for the above temperature and same treatment. A plant put out last spring now covers a roof space of about 200 square feet, and it is at the present time completely covered with its beautiful lavender - colored flowers, in some instances as many as thirty flowers in a bunch.
Delphinium Sinensis flare plena The Double-flowered Chinese Larkspur is specially referred to by a correspondent of the (Irish) Gardener's Record, who says:
"A bed of it during the "past summer was one of the most beautiful objects imaginable, as if a patch of purer and deeper ether than the far-famed Italian skies can boast, were transferred to earth awhile. It is perfectly-unaccountable why this plant is not more extensively grown, as it is perfectly hardy, and its cultivation of the easiest. It is a true herbaceous perennial, and may be readily increased in the spring by division; or cuttings taken off when the shoots are but a few inches high will root freely. It also comes very freely from seed, which should be sown in boxes or pans, and kept in a cold pit or frame during the winter. In procuring seed, be careful that the true variety is obtained, and that it has none of the 'candelabrum' strain in it. The height of the double-flowered Delphinium is usually from 9 to 12 inches."
Fuchsia syringaeflora is strongly recommended by the Revue Horticole as a fine decorative and market plant. It is of vigorous habit, attaining 6 feet or 7 feet in height, with sub-elliptic leaves, from 5 inches to 6 inches in length, and very numerous flowers of a beautiful soft, rosy tint, arranged in a paniculate bunch, which recalls the inflorescence of the Lilac. F. syringepflura flowers from October till February. The culture is most easy. To have fine plants, it is recommended to plant them out in prepared soil early in the season; to pinch in freely, so as to obtain well-furnished plants, the last pinching taking place in July or August; and on the approach of frost to take up the plants, pot them, and place them in a greenhouse, where they will flower about the time stated.
Begonias for Baskets - Begonias generally recommend themselves to the cultivator for several reasons: They are readily propagated by division, while cuttings of the stem or leaves root freely in a slight bottom-heat; they are moreover easily grown, are profuse flowerers, and their flowers and sprays come in very useful for cutting, especially as one or two of the species are perpetual bloomers.
B. Dregei, when well grown, is one of the prettiest of decorative plants. B. weltoniensis is still more showy. The scarlet - flowered B. fuchsioides and the large rosy-flowered B. nitida flower all the year round, if trained up the wall of a warm, sunny conservatory or greenhouse.
A Begonia in a hanging basket looks like a fish in water, i. e., quite at home. If the foliage is colored or variegated, its tints look richer when seen between the eye and the light, while some of the dwarf and scarlet species make the most elegant of basket plants.
As to the kinds most suitable for basket work, nearly all may be used, except the very tallest growers; and the best way is to begin with small plants, rooted cuttings in fact, which can then be trained as required. B. fuchsioides, B. hybrida multiflora, B. insig-nis, B. Daviesii, B. foliosa, B. Dregei, B. Saundersii, B. Ledeni, and numerous sub-varieties, are all good, while all the ornamental-leaved varieties look better in baskets than elsewhere. - Garden.
Salvia gesneraeflora is mentioned by the Florist as one of the finest of decorative plants for the conservatory during the winter and spring months. It was raised at Lyon, from Columbian seeds, and large bushes of it, more than three feet high, were grown in that establishment, and were a blaze of scarlet from November till April. As a species it is allied to S. fulgens (cardinalis), but S. gesnerqeflora flowers through the autumn and winter, and holds its flowers well, while S. fulgens is a summer species, and the blossoms soon fall. It is one of the very best of the Salvias for decorative purposes during the winter period.