The drought of the past three seasons appears to be awakening in the breasts of scientific men a fear that it may come to denote a decline of the rainfall in England, and consequently to the expression of weighty counsels as to the imperative necessity for conserving as much as possible waste waters for the irrigation of cultivated lands in seasons of drought. Anent this matter the 'Architect' gives expression to the following: -

"Is there no cause for fear that similar influences may be at work in England which will ultimately reduce the amount of rainfall, and lead to such a change of climate and season as may seriously affect our prosperity and powers of production? Two causes at least are at work tending to cause an inordinate waste of our water supplies, which may perhaps in their turn influence in some manner our annual rainfall. We do not say that such is the case merely because the past has been an exceptionally dry season; but as similar seasons may occur again, it behoves us to see in what manner their ill effects may best be guarded against. This subject must be considered under two heads - viz., deep-soil drainage, and what is generally known as water conservancy. The one applies to country and the other to town districts. Although we have not, perhaps, been so improvident with our forest-lands as to denude the country of trees to any dangerous extent, so as to seriously affect the supply of our rivers, as has been remarkable in other countries to which we have referred, yet it cannot be denied that a somewhat similar operation has for some years been gradually extending itself throughout England by the modern system of subsoil drainage, which in itself has been found so beneficial in the cultivation of land.

The inevitable effect of this has been to get rid of rainfall water from the soil in a more rapid manner than has been provided for by nature, and which, finding its way more rapidly into adjoining streams, tends equally with forest destruction to cause floods in our rivers at one time, and to lessen their supplies at another; or, in other words, to destroy a balance of power provided by nature, and recklessly to waste one of her most precious gifts. With our present limited knowledge there appears but one means whereby this evil can be effectually remedied. It would be impossible to return now to the old system of farming; neither would it be desirable, even were it practicable. Advancement cannot be checked, but it should be carried out systematically, and with due provision for the maintenance of an equilibrium of forces. In order to do this, the effluent water from cultivated lands must be conserved, and not permitted to run wastefully away; and therefore reservoirs must be constructed in connection with the natural watercourses, from which the ordinary rainfall which does not enter deep into the land for the replenishment of springs may be made available for irrigation, and for the better supply of towns and villages with water for drinking and purposes of sewage conservancy".

A few weeks since, Mr George F. Wilson, F.R.S., exhibited the true form of the Japanese Lilium speciosum, subsequently known as L. lancifolium. The flowers of this one were richly coloured, but the petals were distinctly margined with white, and the edges were not run into by the deep colour spread over the centres of the flowers. The 'Gardeners' Chronicle' has supplied some information respecting this Lily, of a highly interesting character, which we transfer into our columns.

"The cultivators of Lilies - and we are glad to think they are increasing in number - owe their thanks to Mr Wilson for directing their attention to the true Lilium speciosum, sometimes known as lancifolium, of which he has on two separate occasions shown well-flowered specimens at the meetings at South Kensington. This Lily is occasionally met with under the name of cruentum, and is very far superior to the dark-coloured varieties usually seen cultivated under the names of lancifolium, rubrum, atrosanguineum, etc, all of which are apparently seedling forms, raised either in this country or on the Continent, and which, we suppose on account of their greater prolificacy, have gradually usurped in most collections the place which belongs rightfully to the variety which Mr Wilson has again brought into notice. The characteristics of this Lily are the following: A stature somewhat below the average; the flower-buds considerably shorter than ordinary, and consequently broader petals or perianth segments; more perfectly and evenly recurved, and consequently neater-looking flowers; a distinct white margin and tips, more apparent on the petaline segments - the colours not being so much run together as in the ordinary forms; very richly coloured spotting, and a somewhat later period of flowering.

When seen there is no mistaking the plant, which at once asserts its pre-eminence over the long-petaled irregularly-recurving forms commonly seen grown in its place. Since the plants above alluded to were exhibited, we have met with collateral evidence, supporting Mr Wilson's conclusion as to this finer variety being the form originally introduced from Japan. In one of the secluded bays of the Knaphill Nursery, the home of so many choice old plants, is a bed of Japan Lilies, a large group of which was pointed out to us as being the original L. speciosum, grown on from the original stock, which has never been lost. On examining the flowers, we found they had all the characteristics of Mr "Wilson's plants, and we have therefore now no doubt upon two points, that the Lily in question is the best of all the forms of speciosum, and that it is not beyond the reach of those who wish to obtain it.