As the cultivation of Mignonnette for winter forcing is a work that demands prospective attention, I have chosen the subject as one likely to be both agreeable and interesting to many readers of ' The Gardener' at the commencement of the new year.

Who is it that does not admire a Rose-bud in December? or that does not wish for the return of their favourite garden companions 1 Amongst which the object of the present paper takes a leading place - forcing Mignonnette. The term is significant, as if the winter culture of this esteemed annual should be exclusively the business of the professional gardener this, however, need not necessarily be so, wherever there is a single vinery or greenhouse where a mean temperature of 50° can be maintained.

There are several varieties of Mignonnette, some of which are worthless for forcing, but there are also many excellent strains that can be procured from any respectable seedsman who has an eye to the popularity and enhanced value of genuine novelties in florists' seeds. The writer has found nothing better than that sold under the name of Parson's Tree Mignonnette; and Miles's Hybrid Spiral is also giving great satisfaction. The latter is better adapted for growing in small pots the habit is dwarf, and the flower-stalk is of more than ordinary length. Approved strains of the former are well fitted for covering trellises as taste may desire.

Speaking, or rather writing, of training, I do not think it is a writer's duty to dogmatise on any particular form of training, as gardening is either a pleasure or it is nothing, therefore every one should have a right to please their own fancy, although I would like to see nature have more of her own way at times. Umbrella-shaped standards find favour with exhibitors; and the pyramid form is also popular. I adopt it with a few plants, but prefer the natural or bush form which, when neatly done, presents no mean appearance amongst a general collection of plants, and, unlike those formal heads or cones that look as if they had been clipped with shears, are suitable for a variety of purposes ; and yet the latter are pleasing objects in their own places, when training is not "overdone " - that is to say, when the plants are tied for the last time a little while before growth has ceased, and there is a regular surface of growth all over the trellis, something like a bed of Mignonnette in the open air.

The seed should be sown some time during the month of February, or not later than the beginning of March, in 3-inch pots, washed clean, and drained with a single crock laid over the drainage hole, and a layer of cakey leaf-mould placed over it. The root should then be filled to within watering space of the brim with rich open mould, and pressed firm with the fingers. The requisite number of pots being collected together on the potting-bench, and filled as directed, shake a little soil through a fine sieve all over them in order to make a fine level surface on which to lay the seeds, to the number of three or four in a pot, and then cover slightly through a sieve as before.

If all the seeds germinate, of course the number will be reduced to the strongest and most promising plant nearest to the centre of the pot. When the seed is covered, the next point to be considered is the most likely place to set the pots during the process of germination. It may be said it is not a difficult matter to raise any quantity of Mignonnette from seed; still it depends much upon how the young tenderlings are treated at this stage, whether they will develop and furnish shoots in sufficient number and strength to form a trained specimen. Therefore it is recommended that some special provision be made at the commencement to keep the plants in a uniform temperature till they are finally hardened off and turned out of doors. A check to growth is sure to succeed if germination takes place in a warm frame for although the atmosphere of a propagating frame may be favourable to germination, it seldom or never happens that such conditions can be kept up afterwards, and a check is the result. A mean of 60° is safe, and if the soil is in a moist state when used, and not exposed to variations of temperature, the seeds will germinate in it without any further trouble than that of keeping up a humid atmosphere by frequent sprinklings through a fine syringe.

When the young plants have attained the length of 2 or 3 inches, an upright stake will be necessary to tie the plant to and the conditions recommended during germination will need to be gradually modified until the plants are fully exposed to light and air. There is no better place for growing these and similar plants successfully than a low pit, with a single hot-water pipe round it, where a steady temperature can be kept up during our changeable spring months and it is also advised that the pots should be plunged in sifted coal-ashes to lessen the necessity of watering, and to counteract the effect of the outer air as long as the plants are confined to small pots: and if the pit is a lean-to, they should be turned round occasionally so that they will be fairly proportioned and balanced for whatever form they are ultimately intended to take. Watering will be best performed through a fine rose; and they will also be benefited by a sprinkling of water overhead when the pit is being shut in for the night, on the afternoons of fine days, after air has been freely admitted through the early part of the day.

The compost most suitable for growing Mignonnette is turfy loam, rotten manure, and a small proportion of soot - the two latter forming about a third of the composition, supposing the manure is in a proper working condition if this is not the case, a third of rough leaf-mould and horse-droppings can be substituted, and will answer the purpose very well with a dash of soot added: a fertiliser of no small value in the cultivation of large or small specimens.

I may now observe that in potting, and in all future details, the cultivator, whether his requirements are great or small, must, in the first place, determine what form or forms of training will answer his purpose best; and in potting the first time, the plants should be arranged in order to prevent confusion afterwards. Those that are intended to form umbrella-shaped standards should be encouraged on one clean stem to the required height, and pinched by merely "breaking off the point of the shoot" in the soft young wood, so as to get a number of free breaks which, in process of time, will multiply themselves, and cover the whole trellis. The neatest and best furnished at the joints which promise to grow with vigour should be selected for growing into pyramids, and those of a more dwarf habit will come in for growing into bush specimens.

Having supposed the plants to be healthy at the root, and to have been shifted at the proper time, - that is, when the soil in the seed-pot was like a block of mushroom spawn - when broken a mass of white fibrous roots, - it is a fact that many young plants get more food than is good for them at this stage, the roots naturally run to the side of the pot first,when there is hardly a single root in the centre of the ball, then comes overwatering and consequent bad health; instead, therefore, of giving certain dates for shifting, I would say be guided by personal inspection, and act accordingly. After the plants are shifted into 5- or 6-inch pots, as the case may be, they should be returned to their old quarters, and shaded from strong sun for an hour or two in the middle of the day, and only syringed overhead in the meantime till they begin to root afresh. The great object from this date is to keep them in a continually growing state by supplying them carefully at the root with water and syringing them constantly overhead whenever the weather is favourable, - this keeps the young growths soft and increases the number of shoots rapidly.

In changing the position of the plants, as the days lengthen, to one of natural shade, it should be done when the weather is likely to be settled for a few days so that the change will not result in a check to growth and, of course, they will still have the protection of glass in cold weather. If there be any secret in the cultivation of these plants, it is in not pushing growth too fast at the commencement, but to keep them moving steadily till genial weather is ready to assist you, and then drive them along as fast as they will go. When the weather is mild enough in June to leave them unprotected, their position through the summer, whether it is favourable or otherwise, is of far greater moment than the actual attention required in watering, pinching, and training. The pots should be set either on wooden spars or on a bed of coal-ashes or other rubble, behind a north wall, where they will have the benefit of light, but no actual sunshine unless what is subdued by decreasing power in the afternoon. In a week or two after they are fully exposed they may have their final shift into 9- or 10-inch pots, and training should be commenced immediately afterwards. Most people have wire-trellises made by the skilled hands of the wire-workers, and only need fastening to the pot.

The umbrella standards, at all events, are best procured ready made, and when fixed in the pot the leading shoots should be drawn with a view to filling the trellis equally at the end of the season: one tie to each shoot will be sufficient at the beginning, and all through the season the shoots may be allowed plenty of growing room, merely keeping the main growths within bounds. The pyramids are easily formed, the principal thing required being a little judgment in anticipating what size of trellis a plant would cover from its appearance at the end of June. The pyramid is formed in a rude way by placing a stout upright stake, painted green, to the plant, and by putting a wire-hoop round the rim of the pot, extended or otherwise, as the case may require, then adjust fine wires from the summit of the stake to the wire-hoop with the matter of three or four circles interwoven in the vertical wires to make the trellis convenient and substantial; the shoots are then regulated all over the trellis at equal distances, and every subsequent shoot formed is laid in to fill the spaces between.

It would be almost superfluous to refer to artificial bush-training, the system is so well known: one advantage, however, in the management of large bush specimens, is to run fine wires from stake to stake at about an inch from the top of each, so as to form a sort of hidden framework to train upon. I saw one of those lovely bush specimens 7 feet 4 inches in diameter last year, which was timed to a nicety in tying, and the effect was all that could be desired. But to return to the details of summer treatment, after the last potting the plants will now grow apace, and must be regularly watered and syringed overhead, twice a-day in bright weather, for reasons before suggested. All flowers should be removed as they appear, and training proceeded with in a rough way till the approach of autumn, when system and regularity should be the order of the day; but at no time do we advise or recommend training of a style that savours of trimming at a barber's shop. As the days grow short and the nights grow cold at the end of September, the plants will require the protection of glass, and to be gradually introduced in small numbers to a temperature of 55°, where they will flower in great profusion, and maintain the character of summer-grown plants, which a high temperature or a sudden change would totally destroy.

Our early batch is now a-glow: some are being cut, and others are utilised for various decorative purposes. W. Hinds.