Hardy Shrubs for Forcing
by Wm. Falconer
SHRUBS for forcing should consist of early blooming kinds
only. The plants should be stocky, young and healthy,
well-budded and well-ripened, and in order to have first-class
stock they should be grown expressly for forcing. For cut
flower purposes only, we can lift large plants of Lilacs, Snowballs,
Deutzias, Mock oranges and the like with all the ball of
roots we can get to them and plant at once in forcing-houses.
But this should not be done before New Year’s. We should
prepare for smaller plants some months ahead of forcing time.
say in the preceding April or August, by lifting them and planting
in small pots, tubs or boxes as can conveniently contain
their roots, and we should encourage them to root well before
winter sets in. Keep them out of doors and plunged till after
the leaves drop off; then either mulch them where they are or
bring them into a pit, shed or cool cellar, where there shall be
no fear of their getting dry, or of having the roots fastened in
by frost. Introduce them into the green-house in succession;
into a cool green-house at first for a few weeks, then as they
begin to start, into a warmer one. From the time they are
brought into the green-house till the flowers begin to open
give a sprinkling overhead twice a day with tepid water. When
they have done blooming, if worth keeping over for another
time, remove them to a cool house and thus gradually harden
them off, then plant them out in the garden in May, and give
them two years’ rest.
Shrubs to be forced for their cut flowers only should consist
of such kinds as have flowers that look well and keep
well after being cut. Among these are Deutzia gracilis, common
Lilacs of various colors, Staphyllea Colchica, Spiræa Cantonensis
(Reevesii) single and double, the Guelder Rose, the Japanese
Snowball and Azalea mollis. To these may be added some of
the lovely double-flowering and Chinese apples, whose snowy
or crimson-tinted buds and leafy twigs are very pretty. The
several double-flowered forms of Prunus triloba are also desirable,
but a healthy stock is hard to get. Andromeda floribunda
and A. Japonica set their flower buds the previous summer
for the next year’s flowers, and are, therefore, like the Laurestinus,
easily forced into bloom after New Year’s. Hardy and
half-hardy Rhododendrons with very little forcing may be had
in bloom from March.
In addition to the above, for conservatory decoration we
may introduce all manner of hardy shrubs. Double flowering
peach and cherry trees are easily forced and showy while they
last. Clumps of Pyrus arbutifolia can easily be had in bloom
in March, when their abundance of deep green leaves is an
additional charm to their profusion of hawthorn-like flowers.
The Chinese Xanthoceras is extremely copious and showy,
but of brief duration and ill-fitted for cutting. Bushes of yellow
Broom and double-flowering golden Furze can easily be
had after January. Jasminum nudiflorum may be had in
bloom from November till April, and Forsythia from January.
They look well when trained up to pillars. The early-flowering
Clematises may be used to capital advantage in the same
way, from February onward. Although the Mahonias flower
well, their foliage at blooming time is not always comely.
Out-of-doors the American Red-bud makes a handsomer tree
than does the Japanese one; but the latter is preferable for
green-house work, as the flowers are bright and the smallest
plants bloom. The Chinese Wistaria blooms as well in the
green-house as it does outside;
indeed, if we introduce some
branches of an out-door plant
into the green-house, we can
have it in bloom two months
ahead of the balance of the vine
still left out-of-doors. Hereabout
we grow Wistarias as
standards, and they bloom magnificently.
What a sight a big
standard wistaria in the green-house
in February would be!
Among other shrubs may be
mentioned Shadbush, African
Tamarix, Daphne of sorts and
Exochorda. We have also a
good many barely hardy plants
that may be wintered well in a
cellar or cold pit, and forced
into bloom in early spring.
Among these are Japanese
Privet, Pittosporum, Raphiolepis,
Hydrangeas and the like.
And for conservatory decoration
we can also use with excellent
advantage some of our fine-leaved
shrubs, for instance our
lovely Japanese Maples and
variegated Box Elder.
Glen Cove, N. Y.