Hints For Amateurs. March #1

All arrears among- fruit-trees should be brought forward - better to do it late than that it should be neglected. This applies to fruit-tree planting, - better to do it yet than that a season should be lost: finish all tying, cleaning, mulching, etc, as early as possible. Grafting may now have attention: this operation is simply fitting one shoot into another, allowing the barks to fit exactly, at least one side, but better if both are evenly fitted. Make cuttings of bush fruit as formerly advised. Protect blossoms of fruit-trees, using netting or spruce branches; air and light should not be excluded. Uncover Fig-trees by degrees, and when exposed entirely, let the shoots which can be spared be Gut out, and those required fastened over vacant spaces neatly. There should be no crowding; clean rods trained out with short stilf wood are what give fruit with certainty. Mulch old bushes. We have cleared the soil from the surface of the roots of a number of old bushes here, and replaced it with a quantity of good rotten manure, which cannot fail to renew the vigour of the plants; lime may be dusted all over the bushes when wet with dew, but not while rain falls.

Strawberry-beds should be hoed, and kept free from weeds; a quantity of rotten manure placed over the surface and slightly forked in among old plants will help them much.

Lawns will now require to be well swept and rolled preparatory for mowing; clean gravel-walks, turn and roll them if it can be done; repair turf edgings; sow grass-seeds where lawns are thin and patchy - but birds are ready to devour the seed. The pruning of shrubs may be done with all speed. Cut out all dead material: those getting naked at bottom are renewed most effectually by being cut well down; manure given freely at the roots encourages free growth. Shrubs and trees may now be planted without delay: those requiring stakes should have attention; mulching and watering should not be neglected if dry weather should set in. Auriculas, Polyanthus, and other plants of a similar nature under glass, should have their drainage examined, or be potted on, if necessary; fresh surfacing may do much to help them to bloom well. Carnation and Picotees, and Pinks, may be planted out soon if ground is in good order; those to flower in pots, should be shifted on. Any plants, however hardy when under glass, should be well inured to air before they are turned out.

Top-dress Pansies in pots, and plant out cuttings which are well rooted; sow Mignonette, Sweet-Peas, and hardy Annuals to flower early in summer. Pot off Chrysanthemums as they become rooted, and prevent them from being drawn up by heat; put in more cuttings, and divide old plants. Early Cinerarias and Primulas may be potted and grown on without coddling them: Cinerarias do badly with heat or a dry atmosphere: good turfy loam, a little leaf-mould, and sand, suits them well for first potting. Primulas require more vegetable mould; a little good peat in the soil helps them to root freely. Pot Dahlias as they become fit to handle, and roots are formed: put in top, with a "heel" to each if it can be practised; prevent all cuttings from being drawn up for want of light and air: put in all kinds of cuttings as they can be had; pot on plants which have been stored into boxes. Hollyhocks may be planted out when weather is fine; soil may be placed among Violets to allow the runners to root preparatory for planting out fresh beds. Roses should be planted out if not done already: prune the greater part of the stock from the middle to the end of the month.

Divide and replant herbaceous plants of all kinds; sow Pyrethrums, Tagetes, Stocks, and Asters for an early lot; sow for growing in heat, Cockscombs, Balsams, and globe Amaranthus; cover small seeds very slightly, and the soil should not be wet and cold, but in nice mellow condition. When seedlings are pricked off into pots they should not be taken from heat to cold; but when rooted in the fresh soil, they can be hardened by degrees. Liliums and Gladioluses may be potted for autumn decoration of glass structures. It is early enough to plant them out in the open ground about the end of the month. Look out for plants to keep structures gay throughout the season. Pot on Scarlet Pelargoniums, Lobelias, Verbenas, shrubby Calceolarias, and anything which will make a show. Cut back Fuchsias, and repot them when they have sprung a little; grow them on in a little moist heat. Pot on young Stocks; prevent them from being checked by draught or cold drying winds. Start Achimenes, Gloxinias, and Caladiums; they require little water till they are in active growth, then they will take abundance if the pots are well drained. All plants requiring more pot-room should not be allowed to starve for the want of it.

Pot young Pelargoniums from the cutting-pots; stake out those which are to form specimens; keep them free from green-fly by fumigating or syringing with Quassia-water made from the chips. Free-growing Heaths which have been cut back and growing, may be shifted into larger pots, or the balls slightly reduced, and repotted in pots of same size. A mild, moist heat, with air given freely, will suit them for a time, when they may be taken to cool quarters. Camellias, when done blooming, should be assisted to make their growth by placing them in moist heat; their roots should be put right either by shifting to larger pots, or taking away a quantity of old soil, and giving fresh soil with plenty "of drainage. Keep up a show of flowers by placing a number of forcing plants into heat at short intervals. Plants when done flowering should be well cared for; shade plants in bloom from bright sun. Keep all free from decaying leaves. M. T.