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.
"So you are really going to do it," I ex-O claimed, as she came in with the teakettle. "I should think you would be afraid. I know you'll kill them, and its too bad, after having them so long. Let me see, it must be ten years since you started the slips."
"Yes, almost eleven, and I'm tired of seeing them around. I've threatened these three years to throw them out, and now I'll give them just one more trial. If it kills them, I dont care" and the steaming kettle seemed to sing the words after her in a spiteful way, "I don't care! I don't care! "
It was all about two inoffensive plants, standing in pots on the window shelf. They were species of the cactus, one a Snake Cactus and the other a beautiful drooping plant, that somebody had said bore beautiful large pink flowers; but Aunt Ruth did not know. Neither of the plants had ever blossomed, and after these many years she had resolved to give them up as not worth the room they occupied.
"I've tried everything but this," Aunt Ruth went on, still holding the kettle, with the spout resting on the sitting-room stove. "I've let them get as dry as ashes in the winter, never putting on a drop of water from fell to spring; I've changed and changed them to smaller pots, till I'm tired of it, and not a flower have I had for my pains; I'll try this last thing, and if that don't do - ."She finished the sentence by taking the tea-kettle to the window and pouring the smoking contents in the pots. A neighbor had been in an hour before, and said she knew of a cactus that flowered immediately after being treated in this way. Let the earth get perfectly dry, then pour on boiling water, and the plants will throw out buds in a few days.
We watched our scalded friends, to see them wilt down, but we were disappointed in our expectations. After a good many days we discovered - what do you think? Little red dots all over the Snake Cactus, and round buds occasionally scattered over the leaves of the other. And now - . Well, I have only one more thing to say: You should see the glory with which our little shelf is filled! - F. A. B., in Rural New Yorker.