Read on to see what advice was being given to gardeners back in May 1906. Much still holds true today.
See that the plants in the window are attended to, made clean and potted into larger pots, staked and trimmed. That cleanliness is the parent of health and cannot be too often repeated and besides, it adds a new charm of its own to the most exquisite beauty of the loveliest and sweetest plants.
Fancy anyone wanting to smell a Sweet Verbena in the window and finding the leaves encrusted with dirt, and laden as if powdered over with dry dirt. Faugh! It takes our breath away and causes sneezing, coughing, disgust and not pleasure. The sponge and the watering poured with a rose are the best means of keeping plants clean. They will also need much water in sunny windows, as growth is quick and strong at this season and the sun is powerful.
In training roses, honeysuckles, jasmines, wisterias &c over the cottage walls see that a wreath or branch is bent round the window frame so as to set it in green leaves or sweet flowers during the summer. A branch of a grape vine may often be trained into a sort of triumphal arch round cottage windows. Such small matters indicate taste, a love of the beautiful and the ornamental which costs nothing and affords much pleasure.
Flower borders will be beautiful in May with polyanthus, primroses, violets, &c. Nowhere do we find such daisies, so fat and fine, as in cottagers’ gardens. Virginian stocks and other flowers will also be bursting into bloom and somewhere ten-week stocks, asters, marigolds and zinnias will be coming on, to complete the tale of cottage garden beauty later in the season. Borders and beds are also without weed, spot or litter.
The fruit trees on the cottage and outhouse walls have set a fine crop. Attend to disbudding the shoots and thinning the fruit towards the end of the month, bearing in mind that one large fruit fetches more to sell and is more profitable for home use than three small ones. Keep the birds off the gooseberries, they often suddenly clear the fruit if not watched and scared.
Plant out ridge cucumbers at the end of the month. Earth up early potatoes, peas and beans.
Make another sowing of hardy annuals, they will be found very useful at the end of the season. Thin and transplant the annuals sown last month.
Published in One & All Gardening, May 1906.