This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A. T. L., Whitehall, Mich., writes: "A Swede in my employ is quite an expert pianist, reads music readily at sight, even if it is quite difficult, etc. After a twelve months practice at odd tunes I ' fiddle' my violin with surprisingly moderate ability; in other words what he sees at a glance I have to look twice to discover, but I love anything in the shape of music so well that almost every evening I coax him over to the house and we get at it,- result, difficulty on my part to get him to play the 'Old Hundred,' 'Hail Columbia,' and 'star Spangled Banner,' pieces that I am trying to learn, and desire on his part to go rambling and scrambling up among the sharps, flats and minors of some opera that I can't understand at all yet. Now, as yours is the only horticultural monthly, I want to urge you not to forget the 'old hundred' readers who have neither the learning, ability nor opportunity to profit by the horticultural ' operas' which to you older heads seem so simple.
"About the idea you advance in connection with the persimmon sport mentioned by E. C. in April number. I do not believe that it is a difference in the substance, chemically considered, with which the clover plant feeds itself at the first and second blossoming which makes the difference in the amount and perfectness of the blossoms and seeds, but the operations of the well known law of nature that whenever a plant is checked in its growth it at once puts forth an effort to perfect its seeds to perpetuate its kind. Where the first crop is cut this cause obtains; if it is not, and the plant dies down of its own accord, the new plant springing up, as it does, from a partially exhausted root, and generally under the check of a dry soil, produces the conditions requisite to make a 'case,' as the lawyers term it, under the 'aforesaid' law. How much the blighting influence of the hot mid-summer sun affects the flower, as it does too early sown buckwheat, I do not know, but some I suspect."
[Such suggestions as these are always welcome. The musical illustration is a happy one, for the opera has the same meaning to all when all understand it, and our correspondent has only said in another form, what was said in our last number in another way. It has been the object of the writer of this, to show that different phases of growth force, depending on different powers of nutrition, affect a plant's ability to fertilize itself; and further, to suggest that much of what is written by some botanists about the plant's abhorrence of self-fertilization, proves no such abhorrence, but is to be referred to these varying phases of growth force. While a plant is growing vigorously it has little to spare for waste or reproduction. As the growth force declines, the reproductive force increases. In the reproductive condition there are still degrees of force, the highest conditions resulting in the female and the lower in the male flowers. This is our interpretation of growth, and accords with the observations of our correspondent. - Ed. G. M]