Category Archives: Flowering House Plants

How Soil Works

Nature’s plan is to build up the humus year after year and this can only be done by organic matter. There is need to replace and return that which has been taken out. The Chinese, who are the best gardeners, collect, ‘use’, and return to the soil, every possible kind of waste, vegetable, animal and human. In over 4000 years of intensive cultivation they still support more human beings per hectare than any other country in the world! On the other hand in areas like the Middle West of the U.S.A. And the Regina Plain of Canada, where the Wheel of Life has not been recognized, tens of thousands of hectares which once grew heavy crops are now useless, or practically so.

Every flower crop grown reduces the organic content of the ground. Every piece of work done helps to break down the humus. The value of the soil in your garden, therefore, is not the mica particles or grains of sand. It lies in the humus that the soil contains. Humus makes all the difference to successful gardening. Have plenty of humus present and the soil is in good tilth. Humus is the organic colloid of the soil. It can store water, it can store plant foods, it can help to keep the soil open. It can help to ensure the right aeration. It will give ideal insulation against heat and cold.

Using Compost

Garden owners proposing to dig their land shallowly in preparation for flower growing, should realize the importance of adding ample quantities of organic matter before they start. Composted farmyard manure, fine wool shoddy, properly composted vegetable refuse, or hop manure should be added at the rate of one good barrow-load to 10 m2 (12 sq yds) and in addition into the top 25 or 50 mm (1 or 2 in) of soil finely divided sedge peat, non-acid in character should be raked in at about half a bucketful (9 litres) per square metre (2 gallons per sq yd). This organic matter in the top few millimetres of soil gives the little roots a good start and so sends them on to find the organic matter below.

It is when the organic content of the soil has been helped in this way, that the gardener dares to add plant foods of an organic origin. These are usually applied on the surface of the ground and raked in. Fertilizers with an organic base are particularly useful. Fish Manure may be applied at 105 to 140 g/m2 (3 oz to 4 oz per sq yd), or a meat and bone meal or even hoof and horn meal mixed with equal quantities of wood ashes may be used at a similar rate. These plant foods can be supplied not only when the flower garden is first made but every season very early in the spring. A good dried poultry manure to which a little potash has been added is another fertilizer that is very useful when applied at this time.

Minimum Digging

Flower growers must realize that proper soil treatment is the first essential to success. The millions and millions of soil bacteria that live in the ground to help the gardener, much appreciate little or no digging. It enables them to work better, for they need conditions which are natural. So do give them what they need.


Lime should be regarded as an essential except in very definite cases where acidity is demanded, e.g. the heaths and heathers, rhododendrons and azaleas.

Lime not only prevents soil from being acid but it ‘sweetens’ it, as well as playing its part as a plant food. It improves the texture and workability of heavy soils. It helps to release other plant foods, and it decomposes organic compounds in the soil so that they can be used as plant food also.

Generally speaking it should be applied at about 245 g/m2 (7 oz per sq yd). It should not be dug in, as it washes down into the soil very quickly. It should be sprinkled on the surface of the ground after the digging and manuring has been done. Do not mix lime with organic fertilizers. There are three main types of lime: Quicklime, sometimes sold as Buxton Lime or Lump Lime, which has to , be slaked down on the soil; Chalk or Limestone, often sold as Ground Limestone, only half as valuable as quicklime; and Hydrated Lime, which is perhaps the most convenient j to handle and is therefore most usually used by gardeners. The quantity of lime mentioned previously i.e. 245 g/m2 (7 oz per sq yd), refers to hydrated lime.

The Basis of a Good Flower Garden

No one would dare build a beautiful house today without good foundations and yet, again, attempts are made to produce magnificent flowers without giving the right attention to the foundation – the soil. Before starting on any planting scheme, the soil should be given every attention. There may be the necessity for drainage. There certainlyContinue Reading

Flower Gardening Tips

Flower gardening is a fascinating hobby and one which can give a tremendous amount of pleasure for a comparatively little outlay. The annual border is cheap. It is just a few pennyworth of flower seeds. The rose garden is inexpensive. You buy roses and they last for 10 years and more, so even if youContinue Reading

The Green-flowered Hellebore

Hellebores are valuable for flower arranging because they bloom at a time when bulb flowers dominate the scene and so they offer one a different shape, a different texture and atmosphere. Apart from the well-known white Christmas rose there are many others, most of them green-flowered. The loveliest of these is probably the Corsican type,Continue Reading

Popular Easy Flowering Plants

There are two flowering plants that will do well under the coolest conditions; these are the geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) and the fuchsia. These are such popular plants that their cultivation is fully described in Favourite Garden Flowers, elsewhere in this work. When grown in the house, pelargoniums should be given as much light asContinue Reading

Miniature Streptocarpus – Streptocarpus (miniatures)

Miniature Streptocarpus are tiny forms of the Cape Primrose which come from South Africa and were first introduced tc Britain in the early 19th century. Over the past 20 years they have become popular as house plants, and many new forms have been developed. The normal-sized Cape Primrose has a height and spread of 45cmContinue Reading

Cape Primrose – Streptocarpus hybrids

The Cape Primrose produces its very pretty flowers for much of the year. It is a good plant for the indoor gardener who wants a flowering plant that is a little out of the ordinary. To grow this plant successfully, you should understand something of its likes and dislikes. It dislikes draughts, great fluctuations inContinue Reading

Tips For Growing Flowering Plants

Growing flowering plants is a marvellous way of bringing beauty, colour and fragrance into your home. There are flowers in all colours of the rainbow, and many of them bloom for months on end, sometimes all year if allowed to. Busy Lizzie (Impatiens) and Hot Water Plant (Achimenes) are both very easy to grow, andContinue Reading

Monkey Flower – Mimulus

Monkey Flowers are delightful plants with cheerful and colourful flowers that resemble Antirrhinums. They have a long flowering period, from summer to autumn. The botanical name Mimulus means mimic or actor, and refers to the plant’s flowers, which in some varieties look like little animal faces. The plant originates in North and South America, fromContinue Reading

Spring Starflower – Ipheion uniflorum

The Spring Starflower, is a charming little flowering bulb with white to pale blue star-like blooms and masses of grass-like leaves. The plant has an onion-like fragrance when bruised. In the garden, Ipheion normally blooms in April. Indoors, it can easily be brought into flower as early as February. The name uniflorum means that thereContinue Reading