This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Professor Gray requests those who have an opportunity of obtaining the plant Mentzelia or-nata and M. nuda, both of which occur in our Western plains and prairies, to investigate whether this cruel behavior to flies is well founded. It is declared by a French naturalist, who has studied it in Paris, that the roughness of the stiff* bristles or barbs of each whorl of the plant are interspersed with softer ones, which secrete a viscid matter attractive to insects. Flies thrust the proboscis into the harpoon-like bristles, and when withdrawn the head is held fast. The harder the backward pull, the more extensive is the attachment to the sharp barbs, and the head becoming congested, the insect is seldom able to disengage it. and it is twisted off by the gyrations made. Let us hear from the mow numerous observers of the West, for truly, mow that plants are beginning to imitate human beings by cutting off the heads of enemies, is it mot time they were looked after and civilized?
It is significant that the monthly magazines continue to devote some space to horticultural topics. Scribner has pictures of gardenesque effects, and even condescends to make beautiful strawberry pictures. The time may come when gardening will attract part of the interest now given to agriculture.
In Europe they seeks health from all sorts and varieties of natural objects; earth, water, fire and air are sought to renew strength. Even the planting of people, leaving the head and meek alone uncovered. Some prisoners of war were thus served, and left to die of hunger. It is said that one or more on being fed in this condition by humane peasants, when dug up, were found to have greatly benefited by their temporary obscuration. It gradually became a tradition among the inhabitants of Eastern Europe to resort to earth baths for certain maladies. Baths of earth are now taken in various parts of Germany, as are also baths of mud. Gardeners would be experts at this business, and one at my elbow offers to treat all members of Congress in this manner; but declines to supply drinks gratis. It is from the latter business, no doubt, that he expects his profits.
The vine disease is still a source of great anxiety in Europe. A French author gives particulars of which the following is an abstract. Up to the close of last year the ravages of the phylloxera vastatrix in the vineyards of France had extended over more than 1,600,000 acres, the vines in 700,000 of which had been totally destroyed. The appearance of the insect is now reported from the centre of the most famous of all the viticultural districts of France, namely the Medoc. At Chateau Lafitte, which with its 180 acres of vine land was sold about two years ago to Baron Charles Rothschild for $830,000 is ruined, or nearly so. This and the neighboring estates attached, is valued at many millions sterling. At the rate the insect travels it is probable the whole district will be infected before the end of next year. The government, and the •owners are equally alive to the importance of averting the calamity. Sulphuret of carbon applied according to the plan of M. Dumas, appears to be the remedy most in favor: although a more simple and equally efficacious as well as less costly, is said to be - combining deep trenching and manuring, with application to the root, of turpentine and powdered resin; this has achieved highly successful results.
Some are planting American stocks, which are supposed to be less liable to attack.