Where really refined flowers are in request, it is found that it "pays" to grow a good many kinds of Orchids. Masses of Dendrobium nobile, Coelogyne cristata, Lycaste Skinnerii, and a great many more, produce flowers in quantities of an extremely valuable kind during winter when flowers of any kind are scarce and most appreciated; and not only so, but those of most kinds will last for a very long time compared with others. Roses, Eucharis, Lily of the Valley, etc, may be as beautiful and as acceptable as the Orchids named, indeed, must be; but how very fugitive they are compared with Lycaste Skinnerii, or Dendrobium nobile, the flowers of which last for weeks and even months ! Even the old Cypripedium insigne is by no means to be despised; and then, how long the bloom of it lasts in perfection! We have known them put into glasses, kept there for a week or two, thrown out among other waste flowers, gathered out of the dust-bin, kept a fortnight, sent in again, and last another fortnight! But for the bad usage they got there is no reason why they should not have lasted a month longer than they did.

Few Orchid flowers, or flowers of anything else, keep better or longer than the great waxy flowers of the glorious Lycaste Skinnerii, and few are more easily grown. The plants are cheap : a dozen of nice healthy ones of ordinary kinds may be had for 4 or 5, which will be worth 50 or 60 in the space of a dozen years, if well managed. Then the pure white kinds are to be had for from 5 to 50 each, and in good hands these will prove a really good investment; for, when growing freely, they every now and again, at by no means unreasonable periods, double their number of "leads," and, of course, their value. So, while reaping a rich harvest of sumptuous flowers, abundant enough to pay for labour, coal, and house-room, the original sum will be still there and acquiring interest. Of how many plants could this be said? Labour, coal, interest in money invested, and all, generally find an annual deposit in the dunghill in the case of nine-tenths of the plants grown for furnishing cut-flowers. "The end thereof" is worth considering.

Lycaste Skinnerii grows best in a cool Orchid-house - that is, a house kept just a little warmer in cold weather than an ordinary greenhouse. In summer, at least during hot clear weather, a greenhouse would be too hot and the air too dry. The air for this and all cool Orchids must be moist. In the absence of a regularly appointed Orchid-house, a temperate fernery, such as exists about many places, large and small, will do very well. The plant will even do in a stove, but it does not flourish there as in a cooler house.

Many writers recommend fibry peat for growing it in - we recommend clean fresh sphagnum and charcoal only. Having fairly tried both, we have made up our minds that so long as clean fresh sphagnum is to be had, not a particle of peat will ever be used again by us for Lycaste Skinnerii.

It is generally over-potted - but most Orchids are. A six-inch pot is big enough for a strong plant with three or even four seeds, although many growers would put such a plant into at least an eight-inch one. It is a great mistake. Orchids never thrive so well as when the pots in which they grow are crowded with roots. This is especially true of those that require to be kept constantly moist, and Lycaste Skinnerii is decidedly thirsty.

In potting plants of the size we have named, six-inch pots should have about an inch and a half of broken charcoal put into the bottom for drainage. The rest of the pot is to be filled with charcoal and fresh moss (half-and-half) and roots. Through this the water will rush, and everything will be kept clean and sweet. Cleanness and sweetness in the soil and in the air are the two main features necessary in Orchid growing. Happy is the man whose circumstances allow him to secure these points !

In turning plants out of the old pots - an operation which should never be done when they are thriving and the potting material sweet, even although it should be all roots - take care not to tear off the points of the growing roots, and leave them sticking to the sides of the old pots. After it is out, carefully wash away all earthy and decaying matter, and cut clean away any dead roots. In re-potting, do not crush the remaining roots all into one corner, but arrange them regularly among the new material; nor crush the sphagnum into wet lumps either, but press the whole together pretty firmly. If too loose, it will hold too much water and turn sour. Have the whole a little higher in the pot than it is ultimately to be; and, in finishing off, work the whole down pretty solidly. Finish with short growing sphagnum, and keep it growing by occasional dewings until fairly established. Dead moss covered with filthy slime looks bad, and kills the roots as they push from the base of the bulbs, which should stand an inch or more above the rim of the pot and just clear of the moss. When the moss is growing the roots enter it readily, and thrive in it.

Potting should be done just as the young growths appear from the base of the old bulbs in spring.

After potting, the material in the pots must be kept just moist and no more, until it is fairly occupied with roots; then water may be liberally given. After one-third of the whole material in the pot is roots, healthy and hungry, give once a-week a little very weak manure-water, and your plants will make up great grand bulbs, throw at least half-a-dozen flowers each, break double; and your Orchid-growing friends who believe in peat, big pots, and only clear water, will declare you have grand varieties.

Scale sometimes attempts the colonisation of the leaves. Soapy water and a sponge will exterminate it. In hot weather a dash with the syringe will do good; but try when the air outside is dry to keep that inside moist by sprinkling plenty of water about three times a-day. Shade from bright sun, and never let the plants get dry. The "drying-off" of cool Orchids, as sometimes practised, is ruinous.

A. H., H.