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Winter Care Of Outdoor Plants

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

" Generally a few thrifty geranium slips have been started early in the fall to produce flowers during the winter," writes Cora B. Williams, "so there remains the work of preserving the old plants which have spent their vitality in almost perpetual bloom throughout the summer. Repotted for the sitting-room windows these old plants are unsatisfactory for the very good reason that they have become exhausted and, therefore, require a season of rest. But after a long rest during the winter, they will be just what is needed to set out in the ground in the spring.

The brilliant and free blooming scarlet salvia, also called Salvia splendens and scarlet sage, so popular both in town and country, can be placed in boxes of soil, set away in a warm cellar and kept until spring to use for flower beds and borders. If potted early and well started in its new quarters before winter sets in, the salvia makes a beautiful winter bloomer. Like the petunia, it requires plenty of moisture to be kept in bloom.

" All plants which are to be plated in boxes of soil for the winter should be carefully taken up, allowing a good portion of soil to adhere to their roots, and placed in the soil provided for them, then set away in a warm cellar where they will not freeze, and where a little light from the windows can fall upon them. They should not be put in a damp place, but in as dry a place as possible. Too much dampness will cause the plants to decay. When the soil in the box becomes very dry the plants will need a slight watering, which is all the attention they require. There are more plants killed by dampness than by dryness in the cellar.

" A much easier method, but not always reliable, is to take them up without breaking them, shake the soil from the roots, hang them in the warm shade for a day or two until they become dry, then transfer to the cellar, where they should be suspended from the ceiling by means of twine. They should be placed in a medium light arid dry place where they may remain until spring, when they should be set out early in the ground, where they will soon make flourishing plants. Small slips will not keep in this way. Of course, it i essential that these geraniums be kept in a cellar where they will not freeze.

" The bulbs of tender annuals are easily cared for. They must not be allowed to freeze, and must be entirely dry before being put away. Caladium bulbs should be preserved in dry sand in the cellar. Bulbs should be dug without injuring them, allowed to remain where the warm wind will blow over them long enough to dry them thoroughly, then tied up in paper sacks and hung in the cellar, or in a closet where they will not freeze.

" With a little work during fall the flowers can be safely stored away, and with the coming of spring, will be ready to reward the labor expended upon them by giving a profusion of flowers."

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