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Subject: ‘Plants’

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Changing the colours of the hydrangea

Posted in Nature, Plants on Saturday, 13 February 2016

This edited article about the hydrangea originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 170 published on 17 April 1965.

Pink hydrangea, picture, image, illustration

Hydrangea by F Edward Hulme

If you ever see a gardener potting a hydrangea plant like this one and mixing iron filings with the soil do not imagine that he is a victim of absent-mindedness!

The gardener will be well aware of what he is doing – because iron filings mixed with the potting soil of a red or pink hydrangea turns the flowers blue. It is a trick practised by gardeners on this attractive flowering shrub when they want to change their colour scheme.

After the iron filings are added the gardener waters the soil with alum at the rate of one teaspoonful dissolved in a gallon of rain water.

Actually, the iron filings method of turning pink hydrangeas blue has been superseded today by “blueing powders” which do the same job more efficiently when added to the soil.

Many different varieties of these small-petal plants were cultivated in China and Japan centuries before their introduction to Western gardens. European gardeners are particularly fond of the plant for their terrace tubs, and they make a splash of colour in a tub on the patio or veranda of a town flat.

Hydrangeas are grown by taking cuttings, inserted in potting soil between May and August. The pots should be kept in a propagating frame in a greenhouse or in a closed cold frame. On sunny days the cuttings should be shaded from bright sunlight.

When the cuttings are rooted they need some air, and soon the young plants will be ready for separate potting in compost. By autumn or early spring the plants will have grown to the point where they will again need re-potting.

Nearly all hydrangeas lose their leaves in winter and they need a certain amount of protection from severe weather. It is a good idea not to let them suffer a temperature below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

In early springtime hydrangeas grow fast and this is the time when they enjoy a regular meal of weak liquid manure. With the proper treatment you can get a magnificent head of bloom in the plant’s first spring from cuttings rooted the previous May.

In summer the flower heads fade and as soon as this happens is the best time to prune the plants. In late summer and autumn the flower buds form at the ends of the shoots ready for the following spring, which is why it is important not to prune the plants after the summer is over. Many of them are quite hardy, and make large bushes outdoors.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 105

Posted in Ancient History, Archaeology, Architecture, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, Plants, Religion, Ships, Trade, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice, preaching the Fourth Crusade in St Mark’s Basilica, Venice.

Enrico Dandolo, picture, image, illustration

Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice, preaching the Fourth Crusade in St Mark's Basilica, Venice

The second picture shows Cogs of the Hanseatic League, 14th – 15th Century.

Cogs, picture, image, illustration

Cogs of the Hanseatic League, 14th – 15th Century

The third picture shows a shopkeeper weighing fruit in a shop in Pompeii.

Pompeii, picture, image, illustration

Weighing fruit in a shop in Pompeii

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 99

Posted in Ancient History, Animals, Arts and Crafts, Astronomy, Best pictures, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Inventions, Literature, Philosophy, Plants, Rivers, Science, Transport, Travel, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Hannibal crossing the Rhone with his army and elephants, 218 BC.

Hannibal, picture, image, illustration

Hannibal crossing the Rhone with his army and elephants, 218 BC

The second picture shows Ancient Egyptian papermakers.

papyrus, picture, image, illustration

Ancient Egyptian papermakers

The third picture shows Aristotle, Ancient Greek philosopher and scientist.

Aristotle, picture, image, illustration

Aristotle, Ancient Greek philosopher and scientist

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 95

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Best pictures, Customs, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Myth, Plants, Religion, Sport on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the death of Hyacinth.

Hyacinth, picture, image, illustration

The death of Hyacinth

The second picture shows a Buddhist monk in a pagoda.

Buddhist, picture, image, illustration

Buddhist monk in a pagoda of an imperial palace, China

The third picture shows townhouses in Sana’a in Yemen.

Yemen, picture, image, illustration

Townhouses in Sana'a, Yemen

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 84

Posted in America, Animals, Arts and Crafts, Birds, Educational card, Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Industry, Nature, Plants, War, Wildlife on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the Battle of Tippecanoe.

battle, picture, image, illustration

The Battle of Tippecanoe

The second picture shows doll makers.

dolls, picture, image, illustration

Dressing and painting dolls

The third picture shows Perroquets Aras and Fleur de la Passion.

birds, picture, image, illustration

Perroquets Aras and Fleur de la Passion

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 79

Posted in Absurd, Africa, Best pictures, Cars, Dogs, Educational card, Famous landmarks, Farming, Historical articles, History, Oddities, Plants, Rivers, Travel on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the view of the Nile valley from the Great Pyramid.

Nile, picture, image, illustration

View of the Nile valley from the Great Pyramid

The second picture shows the potato harvest in Ireland.

Ireland, picture, image, illustration

Potato Harvest in Ireland

The third picture shows a ‘dining car’.

car, picture, image, illustration

A 'dining car'

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 77

Posted in Best pictures, British Countryside, Castles, Educational card, Famous battles, Famous crimes, Fashion, Historical articles, History, Invasions, Legend, Leisure, Mystery, Nature, Plants, Travel, War on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the capture of Peking by the Mongols in 1215.

Mongols, picture, image, illustration

Capture of Peking by the Mongols, 1215

The second picture shows Bluebeard’s wife succumbing to temptation and unlocking the forbidden room.

Bluebeard's wife, picture, image, illustration

Bluebeard's wife succumbs to temptation and unlocks the forbidden room

The third picture shows a picnic in Epping Forest.

picnic, picture, image, illustration

The Picnic, Epping Forest

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 68

Posted in Ancient History, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous battles, Farming, Historical articles, History, Industry, Myth, Nature, Plants, Politics, Religion, Transport, Travel, War, Weapons on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Apollo’s chariot.

Apollo, picture, image, illustration

The Chariot of the Sun

The second picture shows the Siege of Tientsin during the Boxer Rebellion, China, 1900.

siege, picture, image, illustration

Siege of Tientsin, Boxer Rebellion, China, 1900

The third picture shows Mexicans harvesting Vanilla pods.

vanilla, picture, image, illustration

Mexicans Harvesting Vanilla Pods

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 52

Posted in Animals, Best pictures, Bible, Birds, Educational card, Famous landmarks, Farming, Historical articles, History, Industry, Plants, Royalty, Sport, Trade, Weapons, Wildlife on Tuesday, 24 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows men hunting birds of paradise in Malaysia.

Hunting, picture, image, illustration

Hunting birds of paradise, Malaysia

The second picture shows the arrival of the Queen of Sheba.

Sheba, picture, image, illustration

The arrival of the Queen of Sheba

The third picture shows women picking violets near Parma, Italy.

Parma, picture, image, illustration

Picking violets near Parma, Italy

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 49

Posted in Art, Artist, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous artists, Farming, Historical articles, History, Industry, Music, Plants, Trade on Tuesday, 24 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the manufacturing of mirrors.

mirrors, picture, image, illustration

Manufacturing mirrors

The second picture shows Salvador Rosa drawing studies of brigands.

Salvador Rosa, picture, image, illustration

Salvador Rosa drawing studies of brigands

The third picture shows vineyard workers treading grapes.

Treading grapes, picture, image, illustration

Treading grapes

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.