That leading article in the 'Gardeners' Chronicle' (whose misfortune it is to have to discuss practical questions in their scientific aspect), on M. Alberto Levy's investigations regarding the influence of light on the ripening of Grapes, strikes one as containing some rather trite observations on the subject. It is addressed to gardeners, but there is nothing in it that they may not read in gardening calendars every day. "A little nonsense now and. then" is not objectionable; but when a paper fills its leading columns one week with the ramblings of persons whose dogmatic conceit and intolerance is only equalled by their inexcusable ignorance of the subjects with which they attempt to deal, and. the next with matter that is absolutely stale, it becomes a trifle disappointing. Upon M. Levy's experiments and operations we need offer little comment, except that most of the conclusions drawn from the first are long foregone. His main object, we are told, "is to ascertain what is the principal agent which determines the degree of acidity in ripe Grapes, under equal conditions of soil and altitude," etc.; or,in other and non-scientific parlance, as the reader gathers from your contemporary - whether sweetness or sourness - a good or a bad flavour is "determined" by a good or a bad season, as these terms are understood; and after discussing the subject at some length, your contemporary observes: "To the botanist it matters little that the Grapes are sour or sweet - the Grapes are ripe in a botanical sense when the seed is formed and in a fit state to germinate.

But for the cultivator the Grapes cannot be considered ripe until the constituents of the fruit have become so adjusted as to produce Grapes of the best quality for the table or for vintage purposes. Botanists and physiologists have, to some extent, ignored this latter class of changes, which, nevertheless, are all-important to the cultivator, and to them the attention of chemists and physicists should be drawn." Thus, you perceive, botanists and physiologists, chemists and physicists, who are here satisfactorily distinguished from the "cultivator" or gardener, will tell the latter something by-and-by on the subject of ripening Grapes - when they have time to look into the matter - and then what productions will appear on the dessert-table! The main conclusions arrived at by your contemporary, in the meantime, are that "heat and moisture (alone) are incapable" of ripening Grapes perfectly, and that "light alone can give us the key to the solution of the problem;" also that "the quality of the fruit as it hangs on the vine depends on the combined action of heat and light during ripening." From these conclusions the Grape-grower may infer three things with tolerable certainty: first, that the sun shines in those countries where the Grape comes to perfection; secondly, that it would be almost hopeless to attempt to ripen Grapes under any other than a glass roof in this country; thirdly, that the heat and the light, when they are "combined," must have some reasonable proportion to each other.

Unless we altogether misapprehend your contemporary, we think this is what it intends to convey on the subject of Grape culture. As to its statement that "abundant crops succeed to," or are "insured by, dry, bright springs," we shall probably learn more when the "botanists" and the "physicists," etc, have finished their investigations on the subject; but it may just be stated that, meanwhile, gardeners are under the delusion that good crops only succeed favourable autumns that ripen the wood and buds of the Vine, and that the spring season, be it favourable or otherwise, has nothing whatever to do with it, let alone insuring the crops.

Your contemporary hopes that at some future period - about the millenuium probably - when plants have ceased to require nocturnal rest, they will be forced under the influence of electric light when the sun goes down. Gardeners will then hang out their lanterns, which will at least have the effect of scaring cockroaches and their fraternity. How far M. Levy and the ' Gardeners' Chronicle ' are clear on the subject with which they deal may be gathered from their suspicions as set forth in the following 'lucid passage: "The expressions, 'clear,' 'cloudy,' 'overcast,' and the like, are much too vague, and too much dependent on personal observation, often defective, and almost useless for purposes of comparison. Nevertheless, by means of observations of this kind co-related with the indications of the thermometer for the same period, M. Levy is led to suspect the existence of a certain co-relation between the influence of certain meteorological agents and the preponderance of certain ingredients in the Grape." The author of this passage appears to be as hopeful as the schoolboy who chased the three corn-crakes, observing as he ran, "if he could only catch the first ane and anither ane, he would only 'want ane".

That discussion in the 'Chronicle' as to whether Mr D. T. Fish acted "rationally" or "irrationally " in adopting the "pendulum system" of Grape-culture, as described by him in his article on tendrils some time ago, is an awful warning to those who are disposed to be nice or inquisitive about the meaning of words and phrases. To be told that one acts " irrationally " is bad enough, but to have it demonstrated to one in calm unanswerable logic is "tew much." If we couldn't speak we'd kick out. We regard Mr W. Thomson's contribution to the discussion as an malignant attempt on his part to shake the testimony of an important witness of the Culford Sport; and we are afraid that Mr Fish is just a little ashamed of the pendulums now, though he once thought he was communicating a rather noteworthy discovery to Grape-growers. Mr Fish would have us believe now that he only used the pendulums once or so in an emergency, and when the most sensible course under the circumstances was to deal with the effect instead of losing time hunting for the cause.

All very well, Mr Fish ! The reply may be sufficient for those who, like Mr Thomson, quoted from memory, and whom it might be happily supposed had not the back numbers of the paper to refer to; but did you not tell us that you had adopted the plan " many times during twenty years "? Had you quite forgotten a practice that you had so recently advocated, and so long carried on yourself? and was there no time during the reasonable period of nearly a quarter of a century to look into your Vine-borders and deal with the cause? The simile of the broken leg is an unfortunate one. He certainly would be a foolish fellow who declined to use the readiest means to mend his limb when it was broken; but what name have we for the man who, having good reason to suppose that the same accident would happen to him every year for twenty years, through the same cause, took no means to avert it?