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fine, but not sifted. When the turf is of a light nature, it is well to mix it with cow-dung in preference to horse-manure, and with neither till it is a year old at least; using equal quantities of loam and thoroughly-rotted manure, of whatever kind. About one-sixth of sharp sand may be added to make the soil porous. To keep worms out of the pots, a little soot may be sprinkled over the pieces of turf placed on the drainage.
In potting, turn the plants out of the small pots ; pick away the drainage carefully; press the balls gently, so as to loosen them; and place the plant with its stem in the centre of the pot; then fill in the compost (which should be in a medium condition as regards moisture) round the ball, and so that the roots may be covered about an inch. Press it well, give a good watering, and set the pots on slates or a concrete floor, in an open and sunny situation, filling the intervals between the pots with tan or sawdust up to the rims.
In this situation the plants are to remain through the summer, being well supplied with water, and frequently sprinkled overhead or syringed. The very weak shoots should be removed, and any showing for bloom are to have the buds pinched out. The very long shoots must be cut back to eight joints, if they make more than twelve: otherwise let them alone. Stopping the shoots should not be practised until the middle of August . The pots should be occasionally examined to see that the roots do not make their way through the holes at the bottom: the object of placing the pots on slates is to prevent this as much as possible.
Early in September, if all has gone well, the plants will be strong, and have filled their pots with roots. This being the case, shift them at once into eight-inch pots, in the same compost as before, adding, however, onesixth charcoal, with the dust sifted out, in pieces from the size of a pea to that of a hazel-nut; and this, with the sand, may form one-fourth of the compost. Drain the pots well, and press the soil gently round the ball, which should be loosened a little, so as to disentangle the roots. If loam from rotted turfs cannot be procured, then the compost may be formed of two-thirds loam, and one-third leaf-mould or well-rotted manure, adding about one-fourth of river or sharp sand, and pieces of charcoal. After potting, give a good watering, and place the pots on the slates; filling in the spaces between them with sawdust or spent tan.
lu a month after potting, the pots will have become full of roots: the plants having the strongest and best-matured wood should then be cut in to from four to six eyes, more or less, according to their strength. It should be borr.e in mind that the weak are to be cut in most; and the strongest shoots, the least. The weak shoots may be cut in to two or three eyes ; those of medium strength, to four eyes; and the strong, to from four to six eyes. Now, if possible, protect the shoots from wet by placing them in an open shed, and keep them rather dry for a fortnight or three weeks. If pruned in the second week in October, they may be thus rested until the first week in November; then they will soon break well if the pots be plunged to the rim in a bed of tan or other fermenting material, with a heat of not more than 700, in a house with a night-temperature of 450. Here they should be sprinkled through a syringe with water, morning and evening.
When the eyes have broken, and the shoots are an inch or so in length, the night-temperature may be raised to 50°, and that is as high as it need be for forcing roses until the buds show color; then it may be increased to 550. When in bloom, a temperature of 50° from fire-heat is sufficiently high. The plants should be kept near the glass; and the roof must not be shaded by creepers, or otherwise. Avoid a high temperature from fire-heat by night: in fact, it would be well to let the fire go out at. night in mild weather, lighting it in the morning, and working on, so that the highest temperature may be attained by one or two o'clock in the afternoon. On the temperatures above named, allow a rise of 50 on dull days; of io° on those days which are cloudy, with clear intervals; and of 150 in sunny days. The art of forcing roses is to afford them abundance of air and plenty of heat by day, and a comparatively low night-temperature; shutting up in good time after admitting air early, so as to let in, catch, and retain as much sun-heat and fresh air as possible. By day, the temperature from fire-heat should not exceed 700. The sprinkling overhead may take place from nine to ten, A.m., and again at the time of shutting up the house; but in dull, foggy weather, only the morning syringing will be necessary.
Keep the plants as far from the heating-apparatus as possible ; and, above all, avoid cold currents of air. Let the waterings be copious after growth has become active; but on the one hand do not over-water, and on the other afford a supply as soon as the state of the soil shows that water is necessary: at the same time, the soil should never be allowed to become so dry as to affect the foliage. When the buds are formed, the pots should be gradually withdrawn from the hotbed, partly to prevent the roots striking into the fermenting materials, and partly to avoid a check when the bloom is nearer expansion. They may after this be set on a hard bottom, as flags, boards, or slates, and have liquid manure once or twice a week, but not strong. It may consist of one pound of guano dissolved in twenty gallons of soft water.
When the blooms are about half expanded, or hardly so much, the plants should be removed to a cooler house, from 450 to 50° by night. I have never observed any check result from doing this, and the color of the flowers is rendered deeper and brighter, and their perfume more powerful, whilst the blooming period is likewise prolonged. When the buds are far advanced towards expansion, syringing should be discontinued, and the paths sprinkled instead; also afford the plants ample room, abundance of air when the weather permits, and all the light possible. After blooming, they should be gradually hardened off, and not placed out of doors until danger from frost is past.
To keep up a succession of bloom, a number of plants should be pruned a month later than the first lot, say the first in the first week in October, the second in November, and the third in December, introducing them into the forcing-house in November, December, and January respectively, and onwards up to March.
The most suitable classes for early forcing are the Provence, the hybrid perpetuals, and the teas.
G. Abbey, in English "Journal of Horticulture"
IMPROVED CULTURE OF HYACINTHS IN WATER.
Probably the greater number of our readers have upon their mantlepieces, or in their windows, some of the pretty plain or ornamental glasses in which hyacinths are flowered in water.
During the chilly days of winter, these plants, by their fresh verdure, remind us of the summer that has gone, and also foretell the promise of the coming spring.
Last year (1864), there were exhibited by Monsieur Vavin, at a horticultural show in Paris, two hyacinths grown in water, in full growth early in November. The- leaves and the roots, as is usual, grew before the flowerspike, which remained stationary. He then conceived the idea of cutting off the roots about an inch below the plate of the bulb, as we see in the following figure:—
In a few days, the flower-stem developed wonderfully; while the plants with abundance of foliage bloomed badly. The fact seemed worthy of notice; but the season was too far advanced to permit of experiments on
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different varieties, and the experiment did not seem sufficient to warrant the adoption of a new rule of culture.
This year (1865), the experiment has been tried with many varieties, and the experience of last year is fully confirmed: in every case, the finest blooms have been developed from bulbs of which the roots have been cut off; they being grown side by side with bulbs of the same variety, with uncut roots. These latter have in many instances failed, as is usual, to develop a flower-spike; and in other cases have thrown a spike, of which the following figure is a fair example :—
Here, then, we have a new rule of culture introduced, which applies not only to hyacinths, but also to other bulbous plants.
The rules of culture are simply, then, to allow the flower-stalk to develop in a cool and perfectly clear vessel.