The reputed trial of Lawn-Mowers which took place at Leeds, on the occasion of the Horticultural and Floral Show on the 3d of June last, appears to have been of a character to call for a protest from the friends of fair-play. The trial, so called, was between the American machine known as the Archimedean, and certain machines constructed by Messrs Thomas Green & Sons, the well-known manufacturers, of Leeds. The result of this trial has been put before the public in a somewhat pretentious manner, just as if it had been one of the duly advertised incidents of the flower-show. There does not appear, however, to have been any public intimation previously made that such a trial would take place; the English agents of the American machine were not only not requested to send a machine to Leeds to compete with the others, but absolutely knew nothing of the trial till they saw the result advertised. Who supplied the Archimedean Mower tested on this occasion does not appear; whether it was in a fit condition to be justly tested, does not transpire. The verdict of the judges - "the judges were the gentlemen who made the awards at the flower-show" - was as conclusive as it was significant.

This document is so curious, and withal so instructive, as to be well worth reproducing: -

"We, the judges of the Leeds Horticultural and Floral Society, having tested lawn-mowing machines manufactured by Messrs Thomas Green & Son against the one called the 'Archimedean' in an open field where the bents were from 5 to 8 inches long, have come to the unanimous conclusion that the 'Archimedean' is perfectly useless either for long or short grass, the superiority of Green's machines having proved on this, as on many other occasions, pre-emineut. We find the 'Archimedean' is only suitable for banks and steep rising-grounds".

The names of the judges who passed this verdict are those of men, some of them at least, in whose judgment reliance might reasonably be placed, did not the terms of the verdict itself interfere, and make one pause with grave doubts as it was read. There is something about it suggestive of a desire to reach a foregone conclusion - a not very difficult matter under the circumstances - as each judge seems to have been aware that "on many other occasions" Green's machines had proved pre-eminent. The transition from the belief of this pre-eminence in the past to a ready belief of it in the present, was a natural, easy, and graceful process. But the emphatic thoroughness of the verdict makes one even more suspicious of its veracity and sceptical as to its value. The Archimedean Mower was designated as "perfectly useless, either for long or short grass." To quarrel even with such a verdict as this, much less to attempt to refute that which carries its own refutation with it, were a mere waste of time.

As sympathisers with the old British love for fair-play, we have referred to this trial; and we join our protest with those of some who were present, against such a burlesque on justice as this appears to have been.

The Sexual Conditions of Plants is a theme which has been engaging the attention of botanists for some time past. In the 'Journal of Botany' Mr Worthington Smith recently contributed some interesting observations of a curious character. Across the Atlantic the American botanists appear to be pursuing the same line of study, with equally interesting and valuable results. In a recent number of the 'Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia,' Mr Meehan continues to detail some suggestive researches, and gives the following observations on the cross fertilisation and the law of sex in Euphorbia. Mr. Meehan states: -

"The list of plants which seem to avoid self-fertilisation is already very large. I think Euphorbia may be added to the number. Certainly this is the case with Euphorbia fulgens, Karw. (E. jacquiniaeflora, Hook.), which I have watched very closely in my greenhouse this winter. Several days before the stamens burst through the involucre which closely invests them, the pistil with its ovarium on the long pedicle has protruded itself beyond, exposed its stigmatic surface, and received the pollen from the neighbouring flowers. The way in which the pollen scatters itself is curious. In most flowers a slight jar or a breath of wind will waft the pollen to the stigmas, but I have not been able to notice any to leave the flowers in this way; for as soon as the anther cells burst, the whole stamen falls from its filament-like pedicle, and either drops at once on the pistils of other flowers, or scatters its pollen grains by the force of the fall.

"This Euphorbia also furnishes another contribution to the theory of sex which I have advanced. The plan on which the male and female organs are formed is evidently a common one; and the only reason why some flower-heads have a pistil in the centre, and others are wholly staminate, is, that there is greater axial vigour when the female flower is formed. Whenever the common peduncle (below the scarlet involucre) is weak, a pistil never appears in that head of flowers. A few which seem strong never have them, but the great majority of the strong pecundles are those which bear the female blossoms. Another interesting fact is, that the number of male flowers is less in those heads which also bear a female than in those which are wholly staminate. This seems to add to the point I made in my paper on Ambrosia, that after the flowers have been partially formed in embryo, and before the sex has been finally determined, the female flower, being primordially the stronger, has the power of absorbing the males of their partially-formed elements into its system.

It is certainly remarkable that in both these instances the Dumber of male flowers should decrease in proportion to the existence or vigour of the central female one.

"The male and female flowers of Euphorbia fulgens are formed much alike. The female occupies the centre, and seems really but a prolongation of the main stem, on the top of which is an articulation from which the ovarium springs. The capsule readily falls from this articulation when mature. From the base of the female central peduncle spring weaker peduncles, colourless, appearing indeed almost like filaments, articulated at about the same height as the female, only above the point bearing a short filament and anther - the caducous part before referred to. No one can fail to see the correspondence of plan in these different parts, and I think that nothing but the favourable position in the direct line of axial vigour made the central flower a female one.

"Cases occasionally occur in which a tolerably strong head of wholly male flowers will develop the central axis into a peduncle almost as long and vigorous as those which bear female flowers. But the flow of vital force - if I am correct in using this term - not being quite sufficient, the final goal of natural perfection in the female form was not reached. These cases do not occur often, but are well worth looking for, as they show so clearly the dividing line between the forces which govern the male and the female sex".

The practice of stealing plants and cuttings at flower-shows appears just now to be getting most inconveniently and alarmingly common. Only recently several cases have occurred of slips being torn from new plants when on the exhibition-table. Bad as is the practice we have seen in operation in Ireland, of the public sweeping from the tables whatever they could lay their hands on of cut flowers (not being altogether disregardful of fruit) as the hour for closing the exhibition came round, this practice of stealing cuttings and branches is much worse, as it will operate to deter many from showing new plants of value. London and the provinces form no exception to this. How it is to be remedied is well worth consideration. Happily the act is of rare occurrence, at least in so far as such acts are made public.

The annual festival of the Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Institution, being also the twenty-seventh anniversary of its celebration, was held at the London Tavern, Bishopsgate Street, on the 29th of June, the Earl of Derby, one of the vice-presidents, presiding, and among the company was the Nawab Nizam of Bengal, in gorgeous apparel, resplendent with diamonds and precious stones. From statements made by the chairman on proposing the toast of the evening, it appeared that since its formation the Society has expended upwards of 15,000 in giving relief in accordance with the conditions laid down in its rules ; that at the present time there were fifty-four pensioners enjoying the bounty of the Institution, which number, by a recent election, has been augmented to sixty; and that it has invested in the public funds the sum of nearly 8000. While the position of the Society had been one of steady and unvaried prosperity, the comparative smallness of the list of subscribers was much to be deplored, and the chairman hinted that, with a better organisation, the operations of the Society might be ex. tended over a much wider range. The principle on which the Institution was organised was stated to be one partly of charity and partly of insurance.

With great tact the noble chairman defended the rule that preference should be given, in distributing pensions, to those who had during fifteen years contributed to the funds of the Institution. This he justified on the ground that, in point of fact, those whom they were assisting were merely receiving back that which they had subscribed in the days of their prosperity. The eloquent and earnest appeal made by the noble lord resulted in a subscription-list larger than had ever before been realised on a like occasion. As usual, the room was handsomely decorated with plants and flowers kindly furnished by the leading nurserymen, and handsome contributions of fruit were sent towards the dessert.