DISBUD dahlias slightly to secure fine blooms. See to the ties of dahlias, or heavy storm rains may bend them double.
Go over rose-trees to cut away all the shoots that* have flowered, to within a quarter-inch of the branches from which they start. Fresh shoots will soon appear, and when these are a few inches long the quarter-inch bit of old stem should be pared off by a very sharp knife.
Remove altogether all overcrowding weakly branches of roses, right up to the end of October; the trees will be much stronger to face the winter.
Cut down flower spikesof hollyhocks, delphiniums and snapdragons directly they fade.
Mulch the beds of pinks, violets and lilies-of-the-valley with old stable manure chopped short. Scatter some slaked lime (builders' lime) on the surface-soil first, and prick over, between the plants, with a hand-fork.
Mow grass twice a week, roll when lawns have partly dried after heavy storms.
Harvest seeds. Gather them on dry days, place in saucers in a warm window, not actually in sunshine, for two days, then put into envelopes and keep in dry drawers.
Apply weed-killer to paths and crevices of bricked or paved yards.
Make up borders that are to have trees, shrubs, roses or perennials planted in them in November. Fork them over first, add manure if necessary, dress with fumigants if desired (see Chapter III). Weed garden ground, and soil in boxes, urns, rockeries, tubs, pots, etc., before the weeds can seed.
When green moss has grown on surface soil in pots, etc., scrape it off, and add some fresh compost, then water with a solution of one teaspoonful of builders' lime to the pint.
If the presence of worms in pots, etc., is suggested, water the plants once with a solution of half a tea-spoonful of mustard in a pint of water. When possible lay the pots on their sides, then the worms will struggle out, some at the base, some at the top.
Remove all the long weakly growths on Rambler roses, leaving the strong new shoots from the base room in which to develop.
As pot lilies go out of bloom stand them out of doors in semi-shade and gradually withhold water. The same treatment, except that some water is needed, is correct for azaleas, heaths, brooms, deutzias, spiraeas, genistas and pot roses.
Keep pansies, violas, and other bedding plants from seeding. If rose leaves are mildewed cut off the most disfigured ones, dust flowers of sulphur on all the others, also the stems, when they are moist; in three days' time wash and syringe off the sulphur with a solution of one teaspoonful of Sanitas fluid in a gallon of water.
An old recipe for preventing mildew from spreading is to syringe the trees every evening with water in which elder leaves, young shoots especially, have been well bruised by a stick and left to soak twelve hours. It is well to water mildewed rose-trees thoroughly with plain rain- or river-water, giving a couple of bucketfuls to each large bush, standard or climber, and one bucketful to each small bush; but this should not be done after the beginning of October unless the season is hot exceptionally late.
Instead of standing out show pelargoniums, lay them on their sides along a gravel or tiled walk in sunshine. Lift and give a little water in a week. Repot them into similar-sized, or even into smaller pots of ordinary compost, after cutting them back. If they can be kept in a frame, so much the better ; if not, they can remain out until the end of October.
Layer carnations. This is done by bending down well-developed side shoots and pegging them into equal parts of compost and silver sand, after first cutting a little slit in the stem just where it is pegged down. The portion of shoot above ground may be from four to seven inches. This portion should be sprinkled with water once or twice daily. Shoots can be layered into pans or pots, if more convenient than the garden ground ; it is sometimes necessary to fasten a small pot to sticks, some distance up the plant, to secure a layer from a shoot that cannot be bent down sufficiently. In three weeks' time the layers should show signs of growing.
Divide garden tufts, or pot clumps, of primroses, polyanthuses, arabises, etc.: all .small hardy plants that are too thick, in fact.
Give weak manure-water, and weak soot-water, to geraniums, marguerites, fuchsias, hydrangeas, petunias, etc. etc., that are flowering lavishly.
Give very weak soot-water once to ferns. Scatter some fertilizer on the soil of aspidistras, palms, aralias, and other foliage plants in pots, when that soil is not perfectly dry, and water in lightly at once, after which leave them till quite dry before watering again.
Water palms and ferns freely, also aspidistras.
Wash the wood and shoots of azaleas, oleanders, hydrangeas, deutzias, and other plants of fairly woody stems, with a very weak solution of Gishurst Compound, according to instructions supplied with it. Syringe several times during the following week.
Sponge the leaves (grass) and stems of carnations with a solution of one saltspoonful of paraffin in a quart of tepid water. This will prove a remedy for insect pests.
Trim box edgings and all evergreen shrubs except hollies and privets, which are best done in April. Shorten wild shoots of the white spring flowering clematises.
Remove seed-pods, if any have been allowed to form, from azaleas and rhododendrons. Clematises can be layered like carnations, so may Rambler roses.
This is a good month for planting or potting the Madonna lily. One bulb may be put in each six-inch pot, or three in a ten-inch. The bulbs, in pots, should be covered by only half an inch of soil, though those planted in beds, borders, or deep boxes and ornamental stone vases, should be four inches below the soil. The right compost for lilies, and suggestions what lilies to grow, will be found dealt with in Chapter XIII. This is the best month for cleaning conservatories, greenhouses, and frames, because in the first weeks the temperature is usually safe for standing all their occupants outside for a few days.
A Simple Ribbon Bed for Spring.
Repainting woodwork annually is a great preventive of disease and insect pests. All woodwork not to be painted should be scrubbed with soft-soap and water, all pots that are left in should be scraped clean. Indeed, every pot had better be quickly dipped in a bucket of soft-soap solution, then washed and rubbed dry just before the plants are put back in their homes, and all dying or injured loaves should be picked off. August is the gardener's favourite month for greenhouse cleaning, but unless the plants can be stood in semi^shade the heat sometimes proves devastating, so September is safer.
Give chemical foods, soot-water, and weak liquid manure, alternately, twice or thrice a week to pot chrysanthemums for late blooming. Palms must be watered liberally this month. Plant out seedling wallflowers, sweet rocket, honesty, and Brompton stocks where they are to bloom ; or the wallflowers can be put in rows anywhere and used to fill emptied Jbeds in late October or November. A very slight dusting over with guano will greatly assist a poor grass plot.
Remove the shading or curtains from glasshouses, and thin out any climbers that make the places dark.
Make up all dells and holes in the lawn with good compost, wet it, scatter lawn grass seed, press it in by a wooden box-lid or back of a trowel, strew some roadside or path grit on, and a sprinkling of carbolic powder. Holes made by grubbing out weeds may be similarly treated.
Keep pot fuchsias and geraniums nearly dry at the roots for a few weeks, standing them in full air. but sprinkle them daily. Then fill up the pots with compost, after pricking over the soil, cut the shoots back well, thin out overcrowded growth, and return to windows or glasshouses any that roe expected to give winter or spring blossom. The others can be kept nearly dry out of doors until November begins, then be taken from their pots and squeezed together by their roots in boxes of not much dry soil, to be merely just kept alive, in airy attics or sheds or cold frames, or on greenhouse floors, until spring.
If ants have come into any buildings, strew powdered alum on all the floorings, which will drive them away.
If field mice—or garden mice—are troublesome, bait traps with sunflower seeds : cheese is no use.
Clip spent edgings of arabises quite short, keep them watered, if the weather does not, and they will become thick and neat again.
Divide and replant overcrowded London pride. Plant roses, shrubs, etc. (See Chapter XV).
Clear out any window-boxes that are no longer attractive, and sink pot plants in them, of such things as chrysanthemums, dwarf late Michaelmas daisies, Japanese and other stonecrops, dwarf miniature ivies, variegated shrubs and young aralias.
Watch the weather. Early November is the right time usually, in towns, for putting bedding plants, etc., away, but a cold October may oblige the gardener to antedate the safeguarding work.