The plants that produced flowers about Christmas or the New Year, if aided by light and heat until growth was completed, as previously directed from time to time in the ' Gardener,' will now have plump buds or crowns. The foliage would be fast fading, if not entirely gone, during the month of August; and this is necessary to obtain success with this much appreciated flower if wanted early. Where the plants have been properly matured, and brought to rest under a judicious system of cultivation, they will be ready for forcing, and cannot fail to give satisfaction. Home-grown plants are preferable to those obtained from the Continent for very early work. I have produced flowers with ease about the 3d of November during the past few years, and this cannot be done with purchased single crowns. It is generally believed that Continental single crowns are the best for early forcing, but this is a great mistake. It is unreasonable to suppose they can compete with plants grown and prepared for the purpose. For flowers about Christmas and onwards, single crowns are invaluable; and in the majority of cases they produce very fine sprays of flower.

Clumps, when sent over, not unfrequently have a quantity of foliage attached - I have never seen foliage adhering to the single crowns - sufficient to convince the practical cultivator that they are in any but a satisfactory state to be forced at once. The plants require a rest; and without a fair season of repose, Lily of the Valley will not force, - they will not even start when placed in heat as soon as they arrive, but remain dormant for months before flowering. It is very well to recommend a bottom-heat of 100° to start them, but in spite of such unnatural driving they will not start until they have rested. Home-grown plants, if ripened early, will not need such a high temperature by 20°, and will quickly spring into flower. Last year my plants forced with greater ease than during any previous year, and with less heat, and this through being earlier ripened than in previous years. If it is difficult to give the plants a steady and regular bottom-heat by means of hot-water pipes, a bed should be made of leaves and litter, and the plants plunged into it when the rank steam has subsided.

Regularity in maintaining a certain degree of bottom-heat is a decided advantage; and a more uniform temperature can be kept with hot-water pipes than with the other system, and the risk considerably less. When fermenting material is used, some care is necessary in case the bed gets too hot, and the crowns are injured in consequence. Under whatever system bottom-heat is obtained, the plants should, if convenient, be plunged in old tan or cocoa-nut fibre, and the crowns buried an inch or two beneath the plunging material. They force better and commence growing earlier when the crowns are excluded from light. Why this should be the case, I cannot tell, for, when growing outside, the crowns generally are nestling on the surface. When the flower-sprays appear through the material in which they are plunged, a flower-pot should be turned over them, with the hole in the bottom stopped for a time at first. This assists materially in drawing them well up. When forced in a close frame this assistance is not necessary.