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former are soft baked and are more porous; in these, the plants thrive better.
Discard all glazed, china, glass, or fancy painted pots ; they are not porous, and plants seldom thrive in them. There is nothing neater than the common earthen pot, if kept clean. If, however, something more ornamental is desired, choose some of the fancy pots, — and some are very pretty and artistic in design, -- and let them be large enough to set the common pot inside.
But there is a very pretty way of fitting up a window which is but little practised; it is, in fact, making the window a flower garden. Build from your window into the
a rounding wooden shelf, say, if the window is
large, three feet in diameter from window to outer edge, but at any rate proportioned to the size of the window. On this, place a large box, wood, or earthen ware unglazed, made to conform to the shelf, and in this put your plants,
the taller at the back, the smaller in front, and on each
side a climber to run over the top of the window, on a neat
wire trellis or on strings.
It is desirable to have holes in the bottom of the box to
allow superflous water to escape, and to permit this, the shelf should be covered with zinc, which is preferable to tin, as it does not rust, and have a low rim all around it,
with a little hole to drain off the superfluous water running from the boxes. This is a very pretty way of window gardening, but is only to be practised in a very light room; for in a room with but one window, the plants would all grow to the light, and being planted out, they could not be turned as if in pots. A pretty way to grow low plants, bulbs, and is to fit a box, say eighteen inches wide, and as
long as the window, into the window, and then place the taller plants behind in pots. This box could be turned as occasion required, or as the plants grew towards the light,
or could even be removed from window to window.
But a few words are necessary. Always fill the lower
inch of the pot with broken potsherds to secure drainage.
In filling the soil around the plants, press it in firmly and establish the plant well. There is no advantage in loose potting
In re-potting, pare off as much of the old, sour soil as possible, being careful not to injure the roots, and place the ball of the plant in the centre of the new pot, filling in all around with fresh spil. As a general rule, plants need re-potting whenever the roots begin to curl round the inside of the pot, or as gardeners say, “ touch the pot." This is easily ascertained by turning the pot down, striking the rim gently against some object by a quick rap, holding the ball of earth and the plant on the palm of the other hand. The plant may thus be taken from the pot and examined, returned again, settled by a smart stroke of the bottom of the pot on the table, and will be none the worse for the
inspection. This is also a good way to detect worms in
pots, they generally living near the outside of the ball. The
operation must, however, be quickly done, or the worm will
be too nimble and withdraw into the interior of the ball.
Stirring the surface of the soil is very beneficial, especially for roses, if the roots are not thereby injured. Top dressing is also productive of good effects, particularly with old plants in heavy pots and tubs. It is simply removing the top soil as far down as the upper roots, and refilling the pot with fresh, light, rich soil.
Is not generally needed in pot plants. A mixture of powdered or small bits of charcoal in the soil adds a deeper lustre to the green of the foliage and brilliancy to the color of the flowers. Bone shavings produce the same effect on
Liquid manure should be sparingly used, and then very
If guano, a tea-spoonful to a quart of water applied once
Liquid stable manure in about the same proportion,
applied as seldom.
In potting window plants rich soil should generally be used. The different kinds of soil are,
Peat, which is black earth or decomposed vegetable fibre, usually taken from meadows or damp woods. If a
mixture of white sand is with it, it becomes more valuable.
Loam, our common garden soil. It may be black or light brown. The best is obtained by taking the turf of old pastures and letting it lay till it all crumbles.
Sand, common, or “ silver,” such as used by glass
makers. It should be free from salt. White beach sand
may be freshened by frequent washings.
Leaf mould, the decomposed leaves, being the top soil in Manure, the material of an old hot-bed, well rotted
and entirely decomposed; the older the better.
From these five earths all the soil for green-house operations is compounded.
In treating of each plant hereafter we will give its con
As a general soil for potting plants, we would say two
parts leaf mould, one part manure, one half part loam, one half part peat, one part sand.
The only ones troubling house plants are, the green fly, the mealy bug, the scale, and the red spider.
Green fly is to be killed by a smoking with tobacco. Put the plant under a barrel with smoking tobacco; let it remain, say fifteen minutes; then give it a syringing.
Mealy bug is to be searched for and destroyed. Frequent spongings do much to keep down this pest.
Scale is to be treated in the same way. Warm soap-suds
are peculiarly distasteful to the creature.
Red spider, which is seldom found on house plants, is nourished by a dry, warm atmosphere. Water is certain death. Keep the foliage syringed and atmosphere moist,
and you will have no red spider.