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HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY.

A meeting of . the .Horticultural. Society was held on Tuesday, at which there was blit a' small attendance'.' - Mr. Stephenson occupied the chair. Accounts wete.passed for payment to the amount of L6i6s. 3d. Mr. Sealey, who had promised to read a paper, was late in arriving, and; mean--while the’members present occupied their time in conversing on the best method of sowing various kinds of seed. Some discussion was carried on relative to the best method of sowing onion seed, the prevailing opinion being that the seed should be first trodden or beaten in, and then lightly raked, and that the same piece of land, should be kept for onions only. Mr. Sealey having arrived, read a paper ap follows, on general observations on flower gardening :—The cultivation of flowers being the most popular branch of gardening, I make these remarks in the hope that they may prove useful hints. to amateurs. Soil. —Ground intended for annuals or any class of flowering plants, whatever the nature of the soil, should be well broken up and liberally manured. Where the soil is heavy or very retentive, a free admixture of rough sand or road scrapings will be very beneficial; where too light a portion of loose clay may be added fwith advantage. The most useful soil for the raising of seeds in pots is a compost of two parts rich, well-decayed leafe mould or soil from an old hot bed, one part fibrous loam, and one part coarse sand ; mix well before using. In preparing pots it is necessary that ample drainage should be provided. For this purpose they should be filled one-third of their depth with pieces of broken pots, and these slightly covered with moss, or some fibrous substance, filling in with soil. Situation. annuals, &c., it will be well to bear in mind that the more tender kinds should be planted in warmer situations, their brilliancy of color and habit of growth being greatly influenced by the nature of the soil or aspect in which they are placed. Phloxes, zinnias, verbenas, &c., cannot possibly have too much sun, and will not come to perfection in the shade, whilst ariculas, polyanthus, and most of those requiring a stiff loamy soil will thrive best in.shady situations. Arrangement and Contrast of Color. —ln arranging flower beds or borders, the dwarfer kinds of annuals, &c., should be placed in the front, the taller varieties in sucession in the back ground, so that the whole may present a gradually sloping surface, and their distance apart must be so regulated that they are all fully exposed to : the sun and air—their brilliancy and effect'depending much on this and the harmonious arrangement of colors. • Never place two patches of similar color in close proximity, but contrast one color with another of corresponding intensity—as orange with purple, scarlet with blue, and light rose or pale blue with white. As white contrasts well with almost every shade of color, it cannot be too frequently introduced to relieve and vary the intensity of the more brilliant rarities. Mode of Soloing.—The simplest and perhaps the best plan is to sow in shallow furrows in circles of from nine to twelve inches in diameter or in rows or drills, their distance apart to be regulated acjording to the height of the plants when fully grown. When this is done in dry weather, an excellent plan is to fill the furrow with water and allow it to settle before sowing, carefully r covering the sides with the soil removed by the operation and pressing down firmly with the back of a spade. Nasturtiums, lupins, sweet pea, etc., may be..covered to the depth of one inch, while smaller seeds, such as mignonette, require but a very slight covering. Lobelia, and other very small seeds, should be thinly scattered on the surface and gently raked in. Many of the hardy annuals may be sown broadcast in beds or patches in waste places, aud have a very pleasing effect. When sown in autumn for spring flowering, an excellent method is to sow them in drills in any vacant pie.ce of ground, and afterwards transplant as vacancies occur in the clumps beets or borders. Transplanting should always be done in the moist cloudy weather ; but should it be hot or sunny, seed beds, pots, etc., should have a liberal watering before being removed, ; taking care not to let the young roots or fibres get dry by too long exposure to the sun and air. Water after planting, and shade from the sun till the plants are established. Thinning out. —Hardy annuals, etc., when sown where intended to flower, ..should be carefully thinned out, to admit (he’air and light necessary for their vigorous growth, as soon as the young plants can be fairly handled. To be successful, amateurs cannot be too strongly impressed with the importance of this. Annuals wlpchjgrdw to a foot high, and those of’S'spreading habit, should be thinned out to four or. six inches apart; in taller varieties the distance must be regulated by the'height of the plants where they are full grown. Watering. —All seeds when sown should have a gentle watering with a fine rose watering pot, and on no account should they be allowed to become dry when germination has once commenced, plants in pots should only bo watered as often as jthe soil becomes dry, and not daily or periodically, regardless of the

state of dryness, as is erroneously practised by some amateurs, to the permanent injury, and sometimes destruction, of the plant. The value and importance of frequently stirring the surface of the soil cannot be over-estimated in its results to growing plants, whether in pots or open ground. The slight admission of air to the roots thus obtained is highly beneficial in promoting healthy growth. In most kinds of annuals, &c., the time of flowering may be considerably lengthened by picking off the seed-pods when the flowers are past their best, or beginning to decay. This prevents the plants ripening seed, and induces a continuance of blooming and vigor. By the means of annuals, our gardens can be kept gay with beautiful flowers for five or six months in the year, and the labor bestowed will be amply returned by the enjoyment of their possession.

In reply to a question, Mr. Sealey said that hardy annuals could be sown in autumn. They would then flower early in the spring, and after that a succession should be kept,up. Mr. Poyntz gave notice of motion that when the number of papers read had reached six, they should be printed in pamphlet form, and sold to the public. . It was resolved that the question of continuing the monthly meetings during, the summer, be brought up at the next meeting. A vote of thanks to Mr.' Sealey for his paper was unanimously carried. Mr. Simmonds promised to read a paper at the next meeting, and the meeting adjourned. «

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HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 150, 9 September 1880

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