If I were asked to name the most useful of all the Orchids now in cultivation, I think I should say Calanthe Veitchii. I should hesitate a little, of course, for Dendrobium nobile is not to be lightly disregarded in a question of this kind - nor, for the matter of that, is Coelogyne cristata either; but I fancy most people would least like to be without the tall rosy - flowered spires of Mr Dominy's hybrid Calanthe during the dull winter season. All those on whom the modern fashion for cut-flowers makes great demands must grow all three Orchids named, in quantity; and then with white Roman Hyacinths and Lily of the Valley, Spirsea and Tea-Rose buds, Bou-vardias and Ferns, there may be no lack of Christmas blossoms.

Yes ! there is no doubt that Calanthe Veitchii is well worth having. I speak feelingly on the point, and any of my gardening friends who have it in great plenty may send me a bulb or two of it by parcel-post. If no loss to them, it will be a great gain to me. While speaking of this Calanthe, one should not forget C. nivalis, a pure snow-white kind, seemingly rather rare, but most beautiful. Flowering as it does after C. vestita is past, is rather an advantage than otherwise. It should be looked up by those who have it not.

Another lovely Calanthe - far finer in colour than the darkest and best forms of C. Veitchii - was another seedling named after its raiser, C. Sedeni. This was once exhibited and certificated at South Kensington, but was never, I believe, seen again. One must sympathise with Mr Seden in his loss of such a gorgeous thing; and I sincerely hope that P. H. Gosse, Esq. of Torquay, may not have to undergo such a trial of patience, since I hear that he has been fortunate enough to raise a lovely batch of hybrid Calanthes, including two or three beautiful and distinct forms.

That clever ex-Mendelian Orchid - grower, Mr W. Swan, now in charge of the Fallowfield Orchids near the busy town of Manchester, has also been successful in raising two or three very beautiful seedling Dendrobiums, one of which fairly eclipses the now well-known D. Ainsworthii, and even D. splendidissimum. All of these kinds are hybrids between our old friend D. nobile and the violet-scented D. heterocarpum. Already three Orchid-growers have been successful in raising beautiful varieties from these two species intercrossed, and in all cases the progeny are robust growers, and most profuse in their bloom. I said three had thus far been successful, but I believe I must say four; for among my numerous original sketches of Orchids I find one of D. Charltoni made from flowers sent to me many years ago by Lieut.-Colonel Charlton of Farm Hill, Braddon, Isle of Man, who obtained it by crossing the above species.

Every day shows us some new development in this great art of hybridism - this mysterious blending of diverse characteristics in plants. Here is an art that will remain to us or to posterity, when every square mile of our tiny world shall have been ransacked by plant-collectors, and all new plants, as nature makes them, shall be no more. Hybridism will always be the kaleidoscope through which new and ever-varied plant beauty will then appear. And not beauty only, for by its agency old plants may be rendered fit for new uses, old favourites of to-day will be made new, and so serve the purposes of the unthought-of fashions of a thousand years hence, just as the Grape-Vine sculptured on the rock at Memphis five thousand years ago gives us the exhibition Grapes to-day.

The hardy flowers are awaking from their winter's sleep. Snowdrops, Hellebores, Crocus, and Scilla siberica bespangle the turf or open border; and that lovely gem among early blossoms, Chionodoxa Lucillae, opened its bright eyes to the sun to-day (March 8) for the first time in our old garden. A tiny bulb, not so large as a hazel-nut, has given us four fine flowers nearly an inch in diameter, of a bright porcelain blue, shading to white in the centre. It is far brighter than the Siberian Squill, and, when well established, will be a most welcome little stranger.

Narcissus are spearing up strongly, as they always do after severe winters, our N. maximus being now from 12 to 15 inches in height. This is by far the most stately and effective of all the yellow Daffodils, attaining under good culture a height of from 2 to 3 feet, and bearing great golden blossoms 5 or 6 inches across, and of a colour which would make the most gorgeous Allamanda look like a Primrose.

Hepaticas, blue, red, and white, are lovely; but lovelier still is the Spring Snowflake, Leucojum vernum, which hangs its great white bells Snowdrop-like on the top of a stalk nearly a foot in height.