Your correspondent, A. Henderson, Thoresby Gardens, has brought the above subject to the front in a very practical manner; and being backed by the leading article in the February number of 'The Gardener,' cannot fail to produce good results respecting late Grapes versus late houses, when the system is now more or less adopted in relieving the Vines of their load of Grapes, by cutting them off and inserting them in bottles of water, with a bit of the branch or spur attached, as is generally understood, and placing them in rooms with a dry atmosphere. But whether the Grapes keep or not, the Vines can now be pruned, dressed, and the house cleaned, ready for a fresh start according to the time the Grapes have been cut and bottled off. The house will now in an ordinary way be ready to begin with the season, which will be at least a month or six weeks sooner than if the Grapes had remained on the Vines until used up, at the same time preventing a good deal of unnecessary bleeding, although it can be greatly prevented by styptics: and, better still, when the cultivator is anxious to bridge over the season, by leaving as short a gap as possible between his old and new Grapes, by clearing off a few bunches, or even a whole house.

The consideration appears to be of small importance, considering what is done upon the Continent with late Grapes. From reports, this whole late cutting and bottling of Grapes has not been attended with all the desired results in several places in this country. In many cases, the system being new, the accommodation may be questionable; but whether or not, it brings me to the gist of the matter so ably propounded by Mr Henderson, to begin late-keeping Grapes early, so that they will be thoroughly ripened by the end of September. Late houses should be planted with early sorts, to be used up with the season, as it is utterly impossible to keep badly-ripened Grapes during winter, either in bottles of water or in the houses where they have been grown. Now, to steal a march on the season, a house of late bad-keeping Grapes would just keep as well in any dry room as in the vinery, and save the expense of burning coal, even if there was not a plant in the house; when the Vines could be pruned and cleaned as already mentioned, and shut up, and in due time start with the season; and by the end of February or the beginning of March, if everything is right, it takes very little trouble to bring the bunches in sight, if they are forthcoming; when the fore horse requires to be taken by the head, as it were, and guided through the vicissitudes of our changeable seasons, and landed safely ripe in September. And now as to temperature for Muscats or late-keeping Grapes. We all admit that they require a somewhat higher temperature than Black Hamburgs, etc, that being easily attained by starting the different sorts as mentioned above, and keeping them close to their work during the fore part of the season, while the sun has power.

It saves a great deal of anxiety for Muscats and Frontignacs thinning themselves, at the end of the season, from a little gangrene, close by the footstalk of to all appearance well-ripened berries, similar to the Madresfield Court at some places.

I am of the same opinion as Mr Henderson respecting Madresfield Court, Mrs Pince, Alicant, Lady Downes, and Barbarossa. They all require a higher temperature, or at least they require of us to make the summers as long as possible for them, in order that they will stand good against our damp climate under all circumstances, either in an unsuitable room or in a vinery crammed full of bedding-plants. The months of December and January are the most trying months for badly-ripened Grapes. If they are nothing more than bags of sweet water, they soon succumb to dampness, when all the care of cutting out decayed berries will not save them. Such a lot of Grapes cut and put into bottles, and placed in a dry room, would sooner or later come to grief.

I once cut a house of pot Grapes in the end of May, and hung them up in a dry room in order to take in the Vines which belonged to the house, as they were showing their bunches as they lay on the border outside. From the above pot Vines, after keeping them in moisture about ten days or a fortnight, I took my two first medals at a June exhibition, Regent's Park; and as they were not kept in water, I mention the above facts to show that well-ripened Grapes will generally keep well under most unfavourable circumstances.

Here at Worksop Manor I have got two late vineries - viz., a Muscat house and a mixed house of late-keeping sorts, heated upon the old principle of flues, but the best arranged that I have seen, and I think the cheapest at the present price of coal. The mixed house contains the following sorts: Black Hamburg, Alicant, Madresfield Court, Mrs Pince, Lady Downes, Black Prince, Trebbiana, - and a stranger, I know not what, but a good one. This house is generally started some time after the Muscat house, and to all appearance the Grapes finish off equally well with the sorts in the Muscat house. But not so when December comes - I am obliged to dispose of them, as they show signs of decay; where in the Muscat house now I have Lady Downes as fresh and plump as they were in September last, with scarcely a decayed berry in any of the bunches. Both houses at present are alike filled with bedding-stuff in boxes, but the watering of the bedding-stuff in this house very little interferes with the keeping of the Grapes. One of the principal things in ripening Grapes is to retain plenty of healthy foliage, and beginning early with late-keeping Grapes as Mr Henderson asserts, when none need fear to keep late Grapes in bottles or vineries.

J. Miller.

Worksop Manor and Clumber.

[Our experience is, that Grapes keep well enough in bottles, but they lose much of their flavour as compared to those left on the Vine. - Ed].