In a leading article in the 'Gardener' of August last, and containing much with which I quite agree, occurs the following passage : "In our practice we have never been able to corroborate the teaching of those who advocate a low temperature as being best for such varieties as the Muscat of Alexandria and others of a similar habit, for we have invariably found that these set best with a brisk, indeed a high, temperature; and we have seen Muscats that have been worked low at the blooming period which were not set at all." As I have, perhaps, had more to do with recommending low temperatures than anybody else, and have indeed been characterised as the "Author of low night-temperatures for the Vine" in some of the horticultural papers, whether that may mean credit or blame, I have to ask you to allow me to reply to the above damaging but exceptional testimony against the " cool system." Since I first drew attention to the subject about nine years ago, numbers have adopted low temperatures, and of those who have from time to time written to record their experience in the matter, your correspondent is the only one who has confessed to having failed - all have succeeded but him. That I reckon a fact of some importance.

Only lately an able and frequent contributor to the ' Journal of Horticulture,' but unknown to me, said in reference to what I had written on the subject, that " Nothing in modern times has done so much to produce improved health in Vines and better quality in Grapes as the lowering of night-temperatures. There may be nothing new under the sun, but the high night-temperatures of a few years ago are a thing of the past, because those temperatures were destructive. I do not mean to say that nobody practises the old method, but I know that most of our best growers have abandoned the practice." The same writer only a week or two ago, in the same paper, stated that he cropped his Vine-canes regularly at the rate of from 30 lb. to 50 lb. to the rod; adding that his command of heat was all that could be desired, but that he "maintained cold pipes during darkness, no matter what the weather may be." The editor also of the same paper, answering a doubting correspondent on the same subject, states a very suggestive fact; he says : "There is no doubt whatever that Grapes have set freely in a minimum temperature of 50°. We have for years had fine and full sets of Black Hamburgs when the temperature on many occasions was as low as 45° when the Vines were flowering.

This, however, was not by preference, but the consequence of what many might term defective heating appliances; still, as the crops were invariably satisfactory, the defect indicated was not admitted, and it was not deemed necessary to incur the cost of alterations when good results could be produced without them. More failures occur in setting Grapes by injudicious ventilation and other errors in management, than by the fall of a degree or two in temperature from the regulation high standard of 70° for Muscats and 65° for Hamburgs".

Since I drew attention to the subject nine years ago, I have subjected every vinery on the place here to the cool system - always strictly prohibiting a higher night-temperature by fire-heat than 50° until the berries were set and fit to thin, but never feeling the least uneasiness if the thermometer fell 5° lower than that in the morning, when the berries were in full flower. From 40° to 45° is our figure up till the flowering period. During these nine years I might any season have challenged any of my neighbours in any part of the country to produce better examples of setting. Our Muscats being in flower early in the year, have always been subjected to the most prolonged low temperature, and they have always set well, the berries becoming wedged together by the thinning period, so thick are they. We have a houseful of large shapely bunches of Muscats at present, not one of which presents a defective shoulder through bad setting. I will venture to say also, that there is not a range of vineries in England on which a less expenditure for fuel has been incurred for night-heat proportionately, if there be any which have cost so little.

It has been a common practice with us to turn the heat of even the Muscat-house off at 2 o'clock p.m., and leave it off all night if frost was not feared, and then only a little was turned on at 10 o'clock or later. That the Vines are improved by the cool treatment I am sure, for no Vines suffer less from red-spider than ours. They are never either cleansed or painted, nor ever have been. This is one great gain, and the other is that we save at the very least fifty per cent in fuel. * I am aware that there are good cultivators who have set their Grapes in a temperature 25° higher than that advocated by me, and who believe it to be necessary; but having given both ways a fair trial with all sorts of Grapes, and under the strictest conditions of trial, I feel justified in stating that they are labouring under a complete delusion.

J. Simpson.

Woktley Hall Gardens.