We have been more successful this year with the forcing of bulbs - Koman Hyacinths and Paper-white Narcissus - than ever before, and I think it is a good deal owing to having carefully obeyed the instructions given in a little pamphlet, 'How I came to grow Bulbs,' which I have mentioned before. Mr. Robert Sydenham is as instructive about pot-culture as he is about outdoor culture. He gives exactly the information required; and if this is carefully read there can be no confusion as regards the different treatment required by Narcissi, Tulips, and Hyacinths. A great many nurserymen profess to sell the Chinese Lily, really a Tazetta Narcissus with a yellow centre, which grows with extreme rapidity in bowls of water; but instead of the true thing they often send out the Paper-white Narcissus.
Late though it is, I have been moving pieces of Kerria japonica and planting them against the bare stems of moderate-sized trees. They do admirably, and look so gay and bright in spring. They can be tied to the trunk for support, and the branches of the tree above protect them from spring frosts. They are most amiable plants, and in no way resent being moved about. The single and variegated Kerrias are not such strong growers as the double. If the latter get to look untidy they can be removed after flowering.
I saw a curious account in a newspaper lately about the colour of glass greatly affecting the growth of plants. The discoverer of this theory is Camille Flammarion, the French astronomer. He has found that plants grown in a red hot-house become in a given time four times as big as those exposed to ordinary sunlight. The poorest development, practically amounting to failure, was under blue glass; and lettuces grown under green glass did badly. It would be interesting to try experiments. I wonder if it would answer to colour red the stuff sold for painting the glass of greenhouses as a shade in summer?
We have done a great deal of pruning this year of our old Apple-trees, sawing out large branches in the middle to let in air. The trees have been shortened back so much that they bear far too many apples, and none come to any size.