Various Hints

Artificial manures--Labelling--Cutting off dead flowers--Buying

plants--Tidiness in the garden, etc.

With far the larger half of our population =the question of cost= comes

into everything. There are so many claims on our purses, that the money

spent on recreations can only be a small part; moreover, is always liable

to be drawn on at any moment. Somehow, the money laid out on a garden

always seems to be grudged, especially when it is for such things as

manure, so that if that item can be reduced, so much the better.

=A "WRINKLE."= One good way of buying it, is to get the boys who sweep the

roads to bring the contents of their cart to your garden instead of taking

it away. Quite a lot can be purchased for sixpence or so, and the mixture

is even more beneficial to some plants than the loads bought from the

contractor. When the neat little heaps are swept up at the roadside,

anyone may take it away. Householders can employ their own errand-boys to

do so, no charge being made whatever.

=Guano and artificial manures= in general are very stimulating, and must

only be given to plants in bud, or at all events full-growth. Sickly

plants or those at rest must never have it. =Soapsuds= form a mild

stimulant for rose-trees in summer, but these things do not come in place

of the manure with which the soil must be dressed in autumn; they are only


=LABELLING.= There has been much controversy over the labelling of plants;

it must be done very delicately, or the appearance of the garden is

spoilt; the word label usually presupposes a name to be written thereon,

but, in reality, =just a mark to show where a plant is=, often seems all

that is necessary, and this is very important indeed with plants which die

right down every winter. The most unobtrusive tallies must be used, and

they should be of zinc, or they will inevitably get lost. The wooden ones

are all right in the greenhouse, but no good at all outside. For

rose-trees, names are required, and =the "acme" labels are much the best=

ever invented for these, and have now been in use by all rosarians for

years; they can be had at Cant's Rose Nurseries, Colchester, for about 1s.

3d. a dozen, post paid.

=If we would keep plants in good health=, all dead flowers must be cut off

regularly; this is specially important in the case of sweet peas, pansies,

and other free-flowering plants, which become poor, and soon leave off

blossoming altogether, if allowed to form seed-pods. It is =a good plan=

to go round every morning with a basket and scissors, and snip off all

faded blooms, as, when several days elapse, the work becomes long and


=As regards buying plants=, this comes somewhat expensive, until a little

knowledge and experience has been gained. After a while, the different

plants are known by sight, and one is able to see directly whether a

flower or shrub is well grown and of good colour. Then, instead of

ordering everything at the large nurseries, one can often pick up, in

one's wanderings, very =good things at small cost=. Until that is the

case, it is wiser to order from some reliable firm who is sure to send out

everything true to name. People who go in for gardening, should always be

ready to learn; there are so many points which cannot be acquired all at

once. One can often gain a "wrinkle" if one keeps one's eyes open, as the

saying is. Constant visits should be made to Kew, Hampton Court, or any

other well-kept public garden, if at all within reach. A stroll round a

neighbour's garden, too, will often give one new ideas, and the

interchange of opinions does a deal of good. A magazine keeps up one's

interest wonderfully, and there are many specially published for amateurs.

One must not be surprised that the advice often seems contradictory. =The

right way of growing a plant is the way that succeeds=, and experience

shows how varied may be the means by which success is attained. I should

like here to warn my readers that before launching out into any great

expense, they first come to a full understanding as to what they will or

will not be able to take away. Greenhouses can be put up as =tenants'

fixtures=, but a very slight difference in the manner of placing them may

result in a good deal of unpleasantness with the landlord, and it is the

same with rose-trees, and other shrubs and plants. Where a shrub has

attained to goodly proportions, it is really the best way to let it

remain, even though the associations connected with it may be pleasant, as

transplanting would probably mean death, in which case neither party would

have gained anything. Of course, in the nature of things, a lover of

gardening is loth to move at all, a rolling stone is not at all in his


=Tidiness is most important in a small garden=, especially in the winter

time; plants may be allowed to get rampant in summer, but in the cold

weather, this wildness tends to make it look miserable. One sometimes sees

the brown, mildewed stalks of sunflowers and other tall plants, left on

right into December, even in a front garden, and it =gives such a deserted

look= to the place, that one longs to "have at them" there and then with a

knife. It is the same way with autumn leaves; in woods they look

beautiful, as they flutter down and make a rich, rustling carpet for our

feet, but, somehow, in the garden the beauty seems gone, and it is

generally the best plan to sweep them away as soon as possible into some

corner, where they can be left to turn into leaf mould. Of course there is

a certain beautiful freedom which is very desirable in a garden, and

which no one could call untidiness. What looks lovelier, for instance,

than the jasmine, with its long sprays hanging down over the window, or

the break made in a straight-edged path by some luxurious patch of thrift

or forget-me-not? these are only fascinating irregularities!

=Winter need not be a time for idleness=; it must be spent in getting

ready for the spring. Tools should be overhauled thoroughly, and new

supplies of sticks and labels prepared. Plans, too, should be made for

filling each different bed, so that when the warm days arrive, and one

scarcely knows what to be at first, everything may be in train.

The faculty of looking ahead must needs be used, if we wish to succeed. I

often think that =living in anticipation constitutes a great part of the

charm of gardening=. When sowing the seed, have we not bright visions of

the time when that self-same seed will bear most exquisite blossoms? When

pruning our rose trees, dreams of what they will become lend added

interest to our occupations, and, indeed, this quality of imagination

turns arduous work into a veritable labour of love, so that its devotees

always aver it is the most delightful recreation in the world.

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