THE greatest earthquake of our time is beginning to be felt amongst us, and the wisest can only conjecture where and how it will all end. I am writing this in a quiet English village, and without a thought of Ireland (beyond a love for her) or of her land agitation. In a village known from my boyhood, and formerly one of peace and prosperity, there is scarcely a home that has not suffered more or less from what is called agricultural depression, and perhaps the landlord has suffered in mind and pocket most of all. In former times it was the home of thrifty cottars, every man with his few acres of land - a village commune - every man a neighbour and a friend. Then came good seasons when farmers prospered; land-hunger grew - the landlord turned the cottars adrift, and threw their well-cared-for little acres into big farms. In this way much of our dear Old England was robbed of her beauty. Farmers and landlords vied in getting rich too quickly. The old shady hedges of milk-white thorn, thickly enamelled in spring with crab and sloe blossom, and in autumn with wild fruits for the birds, were ruthlessly swept away.

What cared money-grubbers, if farmers or landlords, whether a blackbird got its breakfast of haws on a bitter frosty winter's morning, or whether the dappled song-thrush had shelter for its nest and young ones in the spring! Had it not been for fox-hunting, every hedge would have been replaced by wire-fencing, and pastoral England's beauty sacrificed to mammon like a soft-going bride to a lover of old iron. Prosperity for the landlord and for the large farms, however, was only for a time, and all around for miles land is unlet, or is farmed by the landlord himself. Everywhere here in Leicestershire one hears of farmers ruined, after having clung on to the old home and the dearly loved well-known fields to the last in hopes of better times, which for them never came. Large capitalists will not now embark in farming ventures, as was formerly the case. Whatever charges may be brought against the landlord, one is the destruction of the small tenant-farmer and grazier in England. This destruction is a great national loss bitterly felt now, but unless it be repaired it will be still more severely felt in time to come. By driving the small cottars from the English villages, the national interest in earth-culture was weakened.

Sons and daughters of cottar-tenants, instead of following the avocations of land-culture to which they were born, were obliged to turn to other avocations. Fortunately for them the expansibility of English manufactures made it easy for them to follow in other grooves; and now that bad seasons and foreign competition has lowered the value of farm-produce, and so of the producing agent land itself, there is no one to bear the burden but comparatively large farmers and the landlord. Large tenant-farmers do not, as a rule, cling on to the "old home" and the dear old village. They simply made a business of farming, and do not wait for ruin to overtake them. In many cases they promptly realised their capital ere the depression materially affected them, and left the landlord to do the best he could with his land. Now that the depression is more forcibly felt, the land is resigned to its owners still more freely, and if perchance a farm is let, it is only possible at a large reduction of rent.

Some may say this is not a question for the 'Gardener;' but of all men gardeners are, or should be, most interested in land and its value. The modern idea of a garden with many is to make it pay. The thing in times past was not usual; but at present those who depend on rents cannot afford to spend so much on gardening as a luxury as was formerly the case. Owners of gardens have a perfect right to sell garden-produce, just as they have to sell shorthorns from the home farm or yearlings from the paddock. A time is coming when skilful cultural knowledge on the part of a gardener must be supplemented by ability to sell his produce, or a portion of it, in the best market; and that man who can do both the one and the other best will be considered the best gardener. All this may lead to a good end; for if gardens can be made profitable as well as interesting or beautiful, so much the better for all gardeners.

Every now and then we hear how lovely a water-plant is Aponogeton distachyon, with its fragrant forked spikes of white bracts and hawthorn-like perfume. If imported tubers be now obtained - or well-rested ones of home growth be now planted in pans or tubs of good sound loam, this to be first surfaced with an inch of sand, and afterwards with three or four inches of water - they will soon commence growth in a greenhouse temperature, and will flower freely from Christmas until April or May following. I find it does best in rather a shady position; and its ivory bracts are very useful for cutting during the winter months, apart from the interest of the growing plants themselves.

We grow a batch of Aponogeton tubers every year in this way, and find they give a very welcome supply of fragrant spikes. In May we empty off the water, and set the pans and tubs in the sun all summer. In this way they are thoroughly rested, and when planted in October start at once into growth, a crop of fresh green young leaves and numerous spikes being the result.

I often wonder why one of the finest of all the Vandas - V. teres - is not more often seen in bloom in orchid-growing establishments. For some time I thought that culture had something to do with its blooming, but now I know that this is by no means the whole truth of the matter. Leaving out of the question the pure-white variety - as rare as a white elephant, only far more beautiful - there are three other distinctly different varieties of what we know in gardens as Vanda teres. First and best, V. teres Andersoni, with stout growths and large richly-tinted blooms, a free-blooming plant. Then we have a plant similar in habit, but the flowers are not better in size or colour than the ordinary thin-habited and proverbially shy-flowering Vanda teres. Its advantages are a more robust and vigorous habit of growth, and it has no objection to flower once every year, usually bearing from five to seven flowers on a spike. I now grow this form, and find it most satisfactory, blooming every year without any of that special treatment of "drying off" which is so often recommended as a panacea of non-flowering for the old thin-growing Vanda teres.