In a note to the editor, which strayed into print, in the Gardener's Monthly for October, 1875, I spoke of Rhode Island Bent Grass, pure and simple, as the best Lawn Grass, in the estimation of many persons living where it is supposed to have originated, and where alone it is extensively cultivated.

There had been a previous lament in the Monthly over many of our Lawn Grasses destroyed by the intense cold of the preceding winter. The Rhode Island Bent had stood this extreme test without injury.

I have since received numerous letters enquiring where the seed of this grass can be obtained; and the Country Gentleman has asked: " What is Rhode Island Bent? and in answer to its own question has conjectured that it is probably Agrostis vulgaris - the Red-top of New England and New York, and the Herd's Grass of the Southern States.

A somewhat extensive examination enables me now to say, and I hope to be able to show, that the Rhode Island Bent is a distinct and valuable grass which, by a curious fatality, appears to have hitherto escaped recognition and description. I am well aware that these light grass seeds may blow from one end of the Continent to the other, and it is not impossible that Rhode Island Bent may be locally grown elsewhere under a different name; but I find no record of the cultivation of any similar grass.

At this season it is impossible to furnish a botanical analysis of the plant, but I send to the editor, for his comparison, two bundles, one of Rhode Island Bent and one of Red-top, - winter specimens - furnished me by Charles H. Potter, of Prudence Island, Narragansett Bay, an extensive cultivator of Bent.

The following paragraph from Flint's admirable Treatise on Grasses and Forage Plants, is perhaps responsible for the confusion between these two grasses:

"This grass (Agrostis vulgaris) is known by various names, and is greatly modified by soil and cultivation. On a moist rich soil it grows larger than on a poor, thin soil; and not only larger but has a darker, purplish color, with a stem varying from eighteen inches to two and two and a half feet high; while on poor gravelly soils, it seldom grows over twelve inches, and often not over five or six inches high, while it has a lighter color. In the latter situations it goes by the name of Fine-top, and is universally seen in old, dry pastures. In some sections where it is highly esteemed, it goes by the name of Burden's or Borden's Grass; in others, of Rhode Island Bent; but I am unable to discover any difference between these and Red-top, except that produced by varieties of soils; and on enquiring of some of the largest dealers in seeds, I find that orders for all these are supplied from the same seed."

With this authority before them, it is no reflection upon American seedsmen to say that, whenever a demand has grown up in any locality for the real Rhode Island Bent, it has been met with a dispensation of Red-top seed, and the genuine grass, therefore, has soon lost whatever footing it has acquired. I shall endeavor to state the points of difference between these grasses as they appear in cultivation, side by side, in Rhode Island, so that this confusion may be no longer possible..

Both these grasses, as well as Fiorin and English Bent, belong to the genus Agrostis, of which Bent Grass is the synonyme; but, for convenience in this paper, the word Bent will be used exclusively to designate the Rhode Island grass.

Both the Bent and Red-top have perennial, creeping roots; but, while Red-top does not spread rapidly by the root, the Bent rivals, in this respect, the Couch grass {Triticum repens), forming very soon a densely matted sod. But the stoloniferous roots of the Bent are as numerous and fine as those of the Couch grass are coarse.

Under the same culture the Bent grass is hardly more than two-thirds the height of Red-top, but is heavier bottomed, owing perhaps to the denser sod, or to more numerous or longer leaves. A field of Bent which appears much lighter than one of Red-top, will often give an equal weight of hay. This may be due in part to the greater solidity of the stem of the Bent. Still the average hay crop of Bent is probably less than Red-top.

The stems of the Bent are also more numerous, as well as more slender, than Red-top. Indeed the Bent is one of the finest, most delicate grasses, in leaf and stem. It makes up for size by number of stalks and blades.

The blossom of the Bent is softer, more silky, and lighter in color than Red-top, sometimes nearly white. One of its names in Rhode Island is Furze-top.

The seeds of the Bent are soft and silky to the touch, while the Red-top is comparatively harsh. An experienced dealer informs me that he can distinguish between the varieties, or detect an intermixture of Red-top with Bent, by simply putting his hand into the sack. This is a distinction which may be useful to seedsmen and purchasers.

In Rhode Island, Red-top has no aftermath. The Bent grass, in wide contrast, starts as soon as cut. This is one of its qualifications as a lawn grass. The beauty of the Newport lawns are proverbial. I have heard this ascribed by more than one person to the prevalence of Rhode Island Bent, though the climate, resembling the English, must be taken into account.

The Bent has the reputation of standing drought better than other grasses, and of furnishing even then good after-feed, differing in this widely from Red-top. This may be a result of the fineness of the grass and closeness of the sod, preventing evaporation.

Rhode Island farmers claim much greater sweetness for Bent than for Red-top. The general testimony is that horned cattle pick out and prefer Bent to other grasses in the same field. A farmer assures me emphatically that Bent is the best grass for cows. This, as well as its readiness to start after close cropping, bears on its value as a pasture grass.

Another farmer, whose testimony is reliable, tells me he has extirpated Couch grass by plowing, manuring, and sowing with Bent. He gives it as his opinion, that Bent, on a soil sufficiently rich, will, at any time, crowd out Couch grass.

One bushel of Rhode Island Bent seed, well sown, is sufficient to plant an acre. For Lawns twice that amount should be used. The market price of Bent in Rhode Island is from $2.50 to $3.00 per bushel, according to weight and quality. Genuine seed can always be obtained of Wm. E. Barrett & Co., Providence, or of Thomas G. Potter, East Providence, both well-known seedsmen.

To sum up, in Rhode Island Bent we have a Lawn Grass, perfectly hardy, forming a close sod, fully occupying the ground and holding its own against coarser grasses, fine in texture, and beautiful in all its stages, starting as soon as cut, and withstanding drought,

As a pasture grass it is sweet and perpetual. For hay, deficiency of crop, if any, is made up by luxuriant after-feed.

[Dr. Channing deserves the thanks of all horticulturists for his investigations in this important matter. The poor specimens sent for Rhode Island Bent grass,appear to be what is known in some parts of the country as "Hair Grass," Agrostis seabra, a very different species from "Red-top" or A. vulgaris. Its fineness should make it a much more desirable grass than "Red-top." Besides, in our experience, we find the latter chiefly in heavy land, and the "Hair grass" in high and dryer places, which will give it an advantage for lawns, which are generally on dry land. - Ed. G. M.]

Dr. Channing's article in another column came to hand as we were sending that department to press; and the imperfect specimens sent, appeared to be Agrostis scabra, as we said in the appended note. Since then we have a perfect specimen from Dr. C, and find that the real species is Agrostis canina. It seems to vary a little from the European specimens of that species, but is, no doubt, specifically the same.