The monthly meeting of the Ashburton Horticultural Society took place last night; at Mr Alfred Harrison’s auction
rooms. There was a full attendance. 1 Mr Smith exhibited some very fine 1 strawberries, six of which weighed nine 1 ounces ; one specimen turning the scale at two ounces. The catalogue was received and ordered to be printed. Mr Poyntz, the Secretary, then read 1 the following paper on pot plants : —“ln 1 presenting th's paper to you, I do not intend to particularize the growing of any species of pot plants, but would give a general idea, which, if amateurs would copy, would find they would successful. The first thing I would draw your attention to is the potting soil, which is one of the secrets of success. Never be without a load of peat, which should be exposed to the weather sometime before using, as it is generally sour when taken from the bog. Leaf mould is very useful for many things, especially for sowing fine seeds. It is "easily procured by sweeping up the leaves which fall from the trees in the autumn, arid left itt the heap until thoroughly decomposed, furf mould is one of "the best and most useful of potting soils, you have only to strip a piece of turf from a grass paddock, and place it in a heap for about twelve months, when it will be ready for use, and lastly, always have some sharp sand on hand, which is most necessary for all potting, as it gives the soil drainage, and plants will grow more fibres among sand than any other soil. It is a well-known fact that unless your plants are well rooted you will not have foilage. The only manures I would advise amateurs to use for pot plants, are fine ground bone dust and sheep manure, the last-mentioned to bo scalded with boiling water, to kill any animal life in it. Be sparing with your manure than otherwise, as you are liable to err and kill your plants. I will now commence with the growing of pot plants, but will first divide them into two classes, viz., hard-wooded and soft-wooded plants. Hard-Wooded Plants.—The growing of hard-wooded plants has caused many disappointments among amateurs ; but if the following instructions are carried out, every admirer and grower of hard-wood plants will be rewarded for his or her trouble. Camellias, the most handsome of all winter flowering plants, are the easiest things to grow one could have. Never let them get dry. This is one of the causes of so many failures among hard-wood plants. They should be potted seldom, say every third or fourth year, giving them good shifts every time. After they have done growing, they should be plunged under the shelter of a fence, to keep the burning sun from them ; place them in the greenhouse at intervals in the autumn, and you will have a succession of bloom throughout the winter and spring months. 1 should say the best time to pot them is after they have done blooming. They delight in a turf loam, peat, and sand. Azalias and heaths I will take t igether, as the same treatment will apply to both. When yon buy, see that you get healthy, bushy plants, which yon can work into shape ; give them plenty of air, and never let them get dry. I have known ladies buy heaths from the nurserymen time after time, but cannot get them to grow. The reason is that they neglect to water them, and keep them in a close room, and the consequence ia that the nurseryman gets blamed for not selling healthy plants. The beauty of heaths and azalias is the the quantity of beautiful blooms they carry, and the way to get bloom is to pot them seldom ; if you pot them often, your plants will make timber, but will not bloom. The soil they grow best in is
peat, turf loam, and sand, and about onefifth charcoal well broken up. Epanris and Boronias require the same treatment as heaths. There are many other hardwood plants which are very beautiful, but as they are not so extensively grown as the first mentioned, I will refrain from speaking about them ; but if growers will give plenty of water, air, and light, and not repot too often, they may be sure they will be successful in growing hardwood plants. Soft-Wooded Plants.-—I now come to soft-wooded plants, which everybody ; can grow, as many will stand neglect for-a-considerable'-time, and by a little attention will revive and become <heklthy plants again. The first I : wifl start with is the e w er popular fuchsia.
Buy spring struck, plants which have only one leader. . After they become potbound, give them a shift, using turf loam, a little peat and sand,’ also a handful of bone dust, into your soil. Give them plenty of water* and shade them during the day ; pinch the points of the flideshoots until you get your plants into shape, and when they have done blooming, give them a rest by sinking them in the sun until the wood is ripe. You can start them into fresh growth and get a second flowering during the one season. The next will be the geraniums, which are Common in every garden, and I will say very little about them. Always buy the choicest kinds, and when they have done flowering, cut them well back to make them break out close to the pot. Nothing looks worse than long-pointed geraniums, | with about one or two blooms on the 1 top. The soil most suitable for them is turf loam and sand. Pelargoniums have no equal as a flowering plant, but there are many drawbacks to contend with to grow them well, but if the grower will follow these instructions, he or she may be sure of success. Buy your plants early in the spring,- those with strong green healthy foliage are preferable, place them in a garden rramtf, giving them plenty of air and light, the light not too glaring, when the branches get long enough tie your plants out, and they will break out from top to bottom. If the green fly attack them, smoke at once, as this is the greatest fault of the pelargonium, but if checked in time, your trouble will repay you. About the first January, sink your pelts outside in the sun, and give thein enough water to keep them alive. The wood will soon ripen, you will then cut them back and begin to feed with water, and they will come into leaf again. Shift them into good-sized pots and place them in the greenhouse, and give them plenty of air, and you will have your reward in due season. The soil most suited for pelargoniums is turf loom and sand. Calcaolarias do not receive the attention they deserve in New Zealand. The great drawback is when they are young they are apt to damp off, and when they are coming into bloom the green fly plays sad havoc among them. Sow the seed in January, in a shady part of the greenhouse. Give them light sprinklings of water until they get their rough leaf. When they are coming into bloom, mulch them well with manure water to get good spikes on the plants. The soil they like is turf, peat, and sand, not to finely sifted. Cinerarias require the same treatment as the calceolaria, but its constitution is much harder, and it therefore is more generally grown. Balsams make good pot plants if taken care of ; the only drawback to contend with is they are apt to draw and get unsightly. The best way to grow them is to sink them in the open ground until they are coming into bloom. Chinese primulas.—These charming winter flowering plants should be raised early to get good plants. The soil most suited for them is turf loam and sand. Tuber begonias are one of the handsomest of all greenhouse plants. By a little gentle bottom heat in the spring, you can have them blooming six months in the year. There is no class of plants more graceful, and the brilliant colors add much to the beauty of the greenhouse. The soil they delight most in is leaf mould, turf and sand. I will now conclude by saying that the success of growing hard-wood plants is constant attention, and the value of soft-wooded plants is, by a little attention, you get a continuous supply of bloom throughout the year. Never be disappointed with a failure, hut try again, and I may say that those who intend growing pot plants may expect many disappointments. The usnal votes Of thanks brought the proceedings to a close.
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HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 508, 14 December 1881
HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 508, 14 December 1881
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