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 any pot plants remain outside, have them housed at once. We may expect sharp night frosts and heavy rains at any time alter this, which would damage even the most hardy plants in pots. The house may be now arranged for the winter, so far as regards the larger plants. Sec that all pots are clean and the surface soil renewed. It gives the plants a neat appearance and is also of benefit. Do not crowd the plants; it is better to weed out some of the most useless and throw them away, than to spoil the effect by throwing ail away for the sake of keeping a few which are of little or no use. If plants arc in health they become larger each year, and necessarily occupy more space, so that where houses are limited, some plants must be sacrificed each year, and in most instances with advantage. Shading should be generally dispensed with by this time, except over such plants as delicate Ferns and Marantas or tender flowering plants which are wished to last as long as possible.
Chryanthemums of the late flowering varieties, sucb as Laciniatum, are useful for 19 cut flowers if protected from frost, and look well mixed with other greenhouse plants, but if short of room, can be protected in a cold frame. The plants are hardy, but a moderate frost spoils the flowers.
Pot Rusts must be protected from sharp frosts and heavy rains. A few of the Tea and China varieties, which are well established, should be placed in a warm part of the house for early flowering, the remainder can be protected in a cold frame, and if the pots are plunged, will not require water for months, Climbers on roof must be cut in con-siderably if they have been allowed to grow freely during the summer. At this season the shude would not be desirable,
Bulbs for flowering in pots during the winter and spring should be obtained at once and potted, for unless the pots are well filled with roots before the tops commence to grow, the flowers will be poor. Single varieties of both Tulips and Hyacinths are best for very early flowering, but the small Roman Hyacinth is the best for flowering from November to January. If Hyacinths are required in large quantities for cut flowers, the most simple plan is to place a number of bulbs in boxes of soil to be treated the same as pots; boxes occupy much less room, but when only required for greenhouse or room decorations, pots are most useful, while glasses are the neatest for rooms only, and require no soil; any lady can attend to them without soiling her hands. Of late years there have been very tasty hyacinth glasses manufactured, which are great improvements on those formerly used. We place a small lump of charcoal in each glass, it prevents the water from becoming unpleasant, and the only other attention required is to add a little more water occasionally, for after the roots become active, they absorb a considerable quantity. A pinch of guano in each glass just before the flowers open, adds to the size and color of the bloom; this is not desirable unless the glass is opaque.
The charcoal prevents any unpleasant smell. When potting bulbs, use six-inch pots for hyacinths, and place a single bulb in centre of each pot with about a third of the bulb above the level of the soil; the soil requires making quite firm in the pots; if this is not done the bulb will be often lifted out of the pot when it commences to root freely. Tulips are best potted fine bulbs in from four to six-inch pots according to the size of bulbs; when a large quantity is grown, it is a good plan to adopt the system of the growers for the London market; that is, to place a number of bulbs of one variety in shallow boxes, and to grow them in boxes until the flower stem is considerably advanced, then shake them carefully out and pot into five-inch pots, selecting those equally advanced to place together in a pot, and also in each batch of pots for market, so that when seen together in Covent Garden market, each pot is the exact copy of its neighbor, so that no selecting is required to pick out the most advanced or the best bloomed pot full.
This is especially serviceable for market, for under the best management it is usual to find some bulbs in the same pot several days more advanced than others, which gives the pots an unequal appearance, especially early in the season when the bulbs are forced forward in the heat; the late ones, which come in flower naturally in a low temperature, generally open more equally.
Crocuses are best grown in fancy pots or pans; the old-fashioned pot, shaped like hedgehog, is well enough; the young buds peeping through the holes representing the spine, or where baskets may be used, the sides filled with moss; a half globe turned upside down is very pretty for this purpose; a moderate sized basket is best, the plants being small and dwarf.
The pretty little blue Scillas are very useful among forced bulbs, placed seven or eight bulbs in a four-inch pot. The best soil for potting bulbs is half loam and half rotten manure, with enough gritty sand to keep it open; a pinch of soot is good over the drainage, being a good stimulant and preventing worms from entering the pots. After potting place the plants in a cold frame or the moist part of a cellar, and cover with six inches of coal ashes; the pots will then get well filled with roots in a short time, and can be removed to the greenhouse a few at a time as required.
Lift and pot sufficient plants of Deutzia gracilis, Spirea Japonica, and a few plants of Spirea palmata, which have been recommended for forcing in the English gardening periodicals. These plants can be kept in a cold frame until required in the greenhouse, and although hardy, cannot be lifted from the open ground when frozen.
If any tuberoses which have not flowered remain in the ground, they must at once be taken up, dried and placed in a warm position for next year's flowering; any place which preserves Caladium bulbs well, is good for keeping tuberoses through the winter.