No time should now be lost in making final arrangements as to the mode of planting the beds for the ensuing season. There is much forethought called for, even in the smallest system of flower-beds - probably more proportionately than in those of large extent. Of course, a "hit"in the method of planting may occasionally be made where no forethought is exercised; but at the same time, it may be safely affirmed, that it requires much thought and mental digesting of the matter to be successful year after year in the planting of a series of beds and borders which shall at the same time present novelty over the arrangements of previous years, combined with an average degree of excellence in the arrangements. Having got the mode of planting arranged, the stock of bedding-plants should also be made note of just now, and in the case of any kinds likely to be short in numbers, immediate steps taken to work up a sufficient supply for the inevitable bedding-out season. I find an abundant stock of the various plants required at that particular season a most important factor in getting along with the work sweetly and expeditiously.

A surplus margin of five to ten per cent of plants allows a sufficient number to come and go with in planting; and with such an excess over the number required, it will be patent to any one that, with a previously-arranged plan, the entire system of beds can be filled in detail without a hitch occurring. Where there is, therefore, any likelihood of the stock of Lobelias, Iresines, Verbenas, and even Pelargoniums, or of other plants which can be propagated now, being deficient in number at the bedding-out season, a batch of cuttings ought to be struck without any delay. This is an easy enough matter where proper means can be had for the purpose; but it too often occurs that the very slight accommodation required is as difficult to come at as if it were something calling for an extraordinary expenditure. At this season we find a bed of dung and leaves of very great value for various purposes; but the bed is thoroughly protected from all influences which can abstract its heat or render its heating power nugatory.

An exposed hotbed with frame for the next six weeks requires the command of a very large supply of fresh material to keep it in a suitable condition for striking cuttings; whereas a bed introduced into a pit, if in the first place properly managed, continues a valuable aid for weeks without further additions. A batch of cuttings struck in such a "make-shift" propagat-ing-pit will require, when "boxed-off," to be freely started into growth in the same medium before being drafted into the structures commonly at command for growing on bedding-plants. If properly managed, these early-struck plants yield a large supply of the very best cuttings later on. Verbenas, more especially, require to be treated well when struck thus early. If these are not grown on quickly in a strong root-medium, and a warm, airy medium atmospherically, so that a stubby, clean growth is induced, they will prove of little use for supplying cuttings. Above all points, make sure of a sound under-structure - plenty of roots. So with Pelargoniums; where the supply of these is likely to be insufficient, as only too probably they will be in many gardens this spring, a batch of cuttings should be immediately put in to strike.

I use very small pots for these thus early - something like half an ounce of compost being sufficient for one pot. The compost used is half loam, half sand. The operation of inserting the cuttings is proceeded with very rapidly. A number of pots are placed side by side closely on the potting-bench; a spadeful of the compost is then shaken over them, sufficient in quantity to have each pot heaped up; the cuttings are then quickly inserted singly into the pots, pressing each in firmly with the two thumbs. The soil is kept moist; and when placed in a mild stove-temperature, roots are emitted in a comparatively short time. Our entire stock of young plants of Mrs Pollock - a favourite here - and Golden Chain, probably the best of yellow-leaved Pelargoniums, are propagated thus. Flowering kinds do equally well, provided they are not allowed to become pot-bound, but potted on into 4 or 5 inch pots, and encouraged to fill these with roots. These will flower just as freely as autumn-struck cuttings; but if there should be any fear on that score, the pots may be plunged deeply in the beds, so as to be counteractive of overmuch leaf-growth. In many ways the Geranium is pre-eminent amongst flowering bedding-plants: they are compact, massive, brilliant or soft, but always refined.

Wherever Pelargoniums succeed, they ought to maintain a prominent position in the flower-garden, and all other flowering plants subordinated, as a rule, to them.

There are certain foliage plants of great value in particular positions which ought to be this month propagated from seed. In the case of all those just to be mentioned, an early start is a simple encessity to secure plants of an effective size throughout the summer. The most graceful and generally useful of those foliage plants which may be annually raised from seed is Acacia lophantha, a species of that extensive genus sometimes used for decorative purposes indoors. It grows very rapidly planted out in good soil, and is hardy enough to stand autumn frosts. This, as also the other plants noted below, is raised in boxes, freely drained, as the young seedlings are not potted off until they have made a good start, the compost being open and rich. The seeds are steeped for several hours in hot water - long enough to soften the outer casing - and at the proper stage pressed thinly into the soil, just sufficiently deep to have the seed covered. The soil is kept moist; and further, to keep the surface in an equable condition in that respect, the boxes are covered with brown paper or moss until the seeds have germinated. A temperature of GO0 is a very suitable one for starting the seeds in.

When a few inches high, the seedlings are potted singly into 5-inch pots, and kept gently growing, and in due time, as the season advances, hardened off, and planted out with other stuff about the end of May. Cannas do well under the same treatment; but these have not proved satisfactory here, and are not now grown. Wigandia caracasana, when well grown, makes a handsome foliage plant. The seeds are very small. After the seedlings are up, they require growing on quickly to secure strong plants for the bedding-out season. Solanum Warscewiczii requires sowing just now too, though it is not necessary to push the young plants on so rapidly as the above. Ricinus (the best of which for Northern latitudes is Africanus), Diacanthas, D. chamaepeuce (being a very necessary plant), and variegated Maize, are soon enough sown eight weeks later. If a stock of the beautiful Verbena venosa is wanted from seed, it should be sown immediately in order to have good-sized plants. The seeds ought to be steeped in water before sowing, and a not over-high temperature indulged in.

There is no time better than the present month for getting hardy subjects into their respective places. There is generally a spell of fine weather in February, and advantage ought to be taken of it for the above purpose. The plants, either from cuttings or division, or cuttings inserted to strike where they are to remain, get established sufficiently before the drying winds of March come, and are also safe from the interested attentions of birds intent on setting up establishments for themselves later on in the season. Cerastium tomento-sum, the dark-leaved Ajuga reptans, and Stellaria graminea aurea, are a trio of edging or carpeting plants of the first order. The first-named is propagated by division or cuttings; the Ajuga by division; whilst the Stellaria, which has got into bad repute through being improperly treated, should be planted in good-sized tufts very closely. The various Sedums may be planted at any time either now or later on with equal success. Veronicas repens and pectinata, Saxi-fragas caespitosa and pulchella, and other hardy carpeting-plants, should all be divided and planted now. An easily-managed grey-leaved plant, not commonly grown, but well worth looking after nevertheless, is Santolina incana.

Slips of this, planted closely where it is to remain, should now be put in. The beautiful variegated Polemonium and Festuca glauca, both worthy of more extended cultivation, should now be divided and replanted. The form of Dactyllis glomerata known as elegantissima should be left undisturbed till April. A most attractive late-flowering plant which should now be divided is Sedum spectabile. Phloxes should also be put out now ; as also such Carnations as Duke of Wellington, King of Purples, and Princess of Wales. Violas and Pansies ought to be sufficiently well rooted to stand transplanting now. I do not know whether I am singular in my experience of Violas, but the only really good bedding kinds here are Golden Perpetual, Sovereign, Grievei, Perfection, Alpha, and, from appearances, Duchess of Sutherland. No good white, free-blooming and continuous, has been yet secured. Those who would prefer a good bloom, from the florist point of view, with compact habit and continuity in flowering, will find an acquisition in King Koffee Pansy. A well-managed bed of fancy Pansies would prove a most interesting one in many gardens.

Only tried free-blooming and distinct kinds, and therefore limited as to the number of sorts, would be admissible to such a position: probably Buttercup, Annette, True Blue, and Queen of the Gipsies would be a sufficient number. A bed of show varieties might be made up of the following sorts: King Koffee, Brilliant, Nina, Robert Burns, and Rev. A. D. Taylor. Provided the beds are gone over three times during the summer, and decayed blooms and seed-pods gathered off the plants, good cultivation being supposed as a necessity, a greater quantity of bloom will be secured from these than from the great majority of bedding Violas now cultivated. I may be allowed here to suggest a use for old Fuchsias which are inclined to get bare in the stem. Cut them over about 4 feet from the surface of the pot, train off all side shoots, and place in a warm structure, to start them into growth. Encourage about half-a-dozen shoots to push from near the top of the stem, and manage these so that a good large head may be formed early in the season. These standard Fuchsias will be found very useful planted widely in borders. Young plants may be quickly grown for the above purpose, but old plants of no value do equally well.

R. P. B.