Last January 1 pruned the tree again, but tacked up more of the right hand (being black) than I did on the left, for which reason I had this year a great many more of the black than I had of the white, and they ripened for the season of the year very well. I gathered the last about eight days since (October 23), and the leaves die white this year also, being the second year of bearing." Parallels to the "Culford Apparition" take some hunting up!

It has been proved by repeated trials at Chiswick and elsewhere that a large proportion of the names in vegetable catalogues are simply synonyms. In other words, many of the names in seed-lists do not represent distinct or new varieties, but as often as otherwise some old sort of good repute that has sometimes by accident received another name; but quite as often the variety has been rechristened with the deliberate purpose of foisting it upon the public as new, and making capital by the transaction - otherwise, "obtaining money under false pretences." How this is done is occasionally amusingly illustrated, and to the discomfiture of the impostor. The jugglery is accomplished in this way: A. raises a new and excellent variety of the Cabbage tribe, we shall say, and perhaps distributes it locally or extensively, as the case may be. By-and-by B. comes on the scene, gets a pinch of A.'s seed, which he sows; and being of an enterprising turn, saves the seed, and perhaps exhibits samples of the variety as well under a new name.

He has probably only harvested seed from the first sowing; but being desirous to realise as soon as possible, he sends it out or sells it to some member of the trade, who brings it out with a considerable flourish of trumpets as a new and particularly excellent thing, originated by Mr Plausible, after years of careful selection; and of course Mr Plausible is ready to declare, if needful, that not a soul holds a particle of seed of the valuable strain but himself: and thus it falls out that the favoured tradesman is enabled to sell A.'s Cabbage - seed about five hundred per cent above his neighbour, who disposes of it under its original name. By-and-by the gardener or his employer finds out that he has been duped; but Mr Plausible has pocketed the cash, and there is no redress - he is left to bite his nails.

The 'Agricultural Gazette,' speaking of manure, says: "The superiority of farmyard manure over every other fertiliser may be accounted for as follows: It contains from its very nature all the necessary constituents of plants, just as surely as jam contains the constituents of the fruit from which it was made. Besides the active ingredients, such as phosphates, sulphates, chlorates, nitrates, etc, which are the very essence of all artificial manures, it contains a mass of organic matter which, during its decay, gives up carbonic acid to the soil, and thus acts as a solvent upon the mineral ingredients therein contained. As it decays slowly, it surrenders its good qualities gradually, and hence has more ' stay ' in it than most manufactured manures - which, as a rule, require to be applied just when or immediately before the crop is growing most rapidly. Farmyard manure is found to improve land more than any other fertiliser. The farmer who keeps a large head of stock permanently increases the capabilities of his land, whereas purchased manures generally increase the yield of one crop and do not affect succeeding crops except indirectly, as previously pointed out, by increasing the manure-heap. In this respect there is a strong resemblance between the action of dung and that of oil-cake fed on the land with sheep. "When the nature of the land allows of this last treatment, it is more than probable that the condition of the land will be kept up as well as by dressings of dung.

This permanent effect of dung, whether in the form of farmyard manure or sheep-droppings, gives it a real superiority over purchased manures, and is likely to maintain its reputation among farmers in spite of the efforts of some persons to present it to our attention from a coldly chemical point of view. In this connection we might apply the words of Hamlet to those who judge fertilisers entirely by analysis - "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Let us be even willing to admit that in the economy of nature there may be reasons which agricultural chemists have not yet sounded that may give the dung of animals and debris of plants a special use in the production of fresh vegetable forms. Such docility of mind is much wanted at the present time among theorists; but those who are in constant and direct contact with nature are accustomed to surprises, and learn to listen with respect to the opinions of "ignorant" men, who, although ignorant of letters, are yet well versed in observing the faces of the sky and the earth, growing crops and animals, whether thriving or pining. The season labours slowly on towards spring. In this time of hurry-scurry, of microphones and telephones, Nature seems to be falling behind.

We cannot get our ewes to go less than 21 weeks in lamb, or our cows to carry their calves less than nine months ; wheat makes its appearance with painful de-liberateness - spring corn, as usual, taking two steps forward and one back. This slow evolution of natural events is, in fact, most interesting and instructive. It constitutes a fundamental difference between manufacture and agriculture. It must be taken into account in all speculations as to future progress, and it must discount all too sanguine expectations as to possible improvements in the farmer's art.

Flower-growers for market have not hitherto had so much to fear from foreigu competition as the fruit-growers; but if the following extract from one of the London papers speaks truly, troubles are in store for them - probably at no distant date : "A few days ago a box reached London from Nice containing all sorts of cut flowers, as brilliant in hue and as richly perfumed as if they had only just been plucked. Double Violets and Rosebuds were conspicuous, and, like the rest, had been grown in the open air, thus saving the expense of artificial heat. But the most remarkable thing was the wonderful freshness of the flowers, although no special pains had been taken in the packing. The experiment, therefore, succeeded completely in proving that these very fragile goods can be conveyed from the shores of the Mediterranean to London in as good marketable condition as if grown in England under glass".

We alluded some time ago to the valuable services of the Scientific Committee at South Kensington. We regret now to learn - in response, it would appear, to our remarks - that the "collective wisdom of the experts " who compose that body is over-taxed, in consequence of the disease-affected subjects submitted to it for examination and inquiry being, as a rule, too far gone. There used to be a story current at Kew once about a learned botanist in that establishment who had a Drumhead Cabbage submitted to him that he might name and describe it. After scrutinising the production critically for a length of time, he put it aside, with the intimation that he would require to see a flower of the plant and know some further particulars concerning it before he could venture to say to what species it belonged - " it was new to him." This is exactly the position of the Scientific Committee. " Specimens of Cucumber disease and what not," we are informed, are in their fullest stage of development when submitted to the " experts ;" hence they decline to saddle themselves with the task of determining either the cause or the cure in any case. One is rather surprised, not to say disappointed, at this state of things.

The Scientific Committee is composed of men who, it is generally supposed, have been educated for duties which are entirely self-imposed. Then they have the run of Kensington Gardens, Chiswick, and above all, Kew, where the same authority as we have quoted once told us, " investigation of the vegetable scourges which ruin our crops is largely carried on;" and this takes no account of the active aid rendered by the talented directors of these establishments. We do not know what else could be done for the learned Committee, unless it be the establishment of a hospital for sick plants at South Kensington, where the members could hear clinical lectures. The "experts" refer in particular to the Cucumber disease, which has been a favourite as well as a standing dish ever since the Committee commenced its labours. In fact, it has been jocularly asserted that but for it, the Phylloxera, and an occasional blistered Peach-shoot, the Committee's occupation would be almost gone. It is a curious circumstance, as regards the Cucumber disease, that not one of the " experts " has ever had an opportunity of seeing it till after "the originating cause had become obliterated," seeing that the disease is usually present in all stages of development on the same plant ! Under these circumstances, gardeners having Cucumber plants predisposed to the disease would do the Scientific Committee a kindness by sending the same to South Kensington - not to speak of the service they would render to science.

Of course, in such a case the sender would have to certify in a satisfactory manner that the disease was "a-comin' on." It would be unreasonable to tax the "collective wisdom " too far. As the experts themselves candidly admit, "it is to gardeners and foresters, trained to observe the beginning of things, that they look for at least the clue to many of these maladies." Without such aid the experts, we are told, "can only wag their heads " over the subjects submitted to them; and it follows, of course, from what has been before stated, that this wagging of heads must enter rather largely into the deliberations of the Scientific Committee.

But we think the Scientific Committee might also reasonably complain on other grounds. "We do not by any means endorse the opinion emphatically expressed on one occasion by a well-known horticulturist that the Committee were " a parcel of humbugs; " but it is not a flattering circumstance that the general gardening fraternity exhibit so little faith in the South Kensington body, and that, notwithstanding the troubles the gardener has to contend against in the way of vegetable scourges, he rarely thinks of appealing to it for help. On the other hand, it has been said, and we believe with great truth, that many of our well-known horticulturists and writers for the press have as many inquiries addressed to them in one season as would keep the Scientific Committee employed for two or three; and we believe the former would gladly turn part of their work over to the latter if they could. As it is, we can but sympathise with the "experts" in their commendable loyalty to the claims of science, which they exhibit by their regular attendance at "meetings," in the sustained hope that " something will turn up".

ReADER.