It is with much pleasure that I lift up my pen to make answer to Mr Simpson's article on the above subject (see May number of the ' Gardener,' page 230). I am glad that he has procured for me this opportunity of more fully explaining one of the principal points referred to in my articles upon the Pear. He was right in surmising, as my articles clearly indicate, that I "would only be guided by considerations of soil and climate in adopting it [the Quince stock], in preference to the Pear, for standards or pyramids." Considerations of soil and climate I consider to be the first points to be studied by the gardener who has a desire to arrive at right conclusions regarding either the fruit, flower, or vegetable garden. The gardener who fails to consider these, and bring them to bear upon his everyday operations, cannot claim credit for any good results which may be arrived at, as they are the productions of mere chance, the soil and climate deserving all the praise. Change such a one to a different place or position, and the results will be very different: he. having only the mechanical knowledge, will work away in his own mechanical. way; while he who has the theoretical, the practical, and the scientific all combined and finely blended together, will be able to arrive at much better conclusions, produce more regular results, and will be a man who will succeed, place him where you will.

I believe more men fail with the Pear upon the Quince, for the simple reason that they fail to perceive that a very different mode of treatment is necessary for the one than the other. It is no uncommon thing to hear a gardener say, "Well, I have discarded the Quince stock as useless. I planted a number of them with a number worked upon the Pear side by side; they all received the same treatment, and the end of it is, I would not see them about the place!" Now this is exactly what I find fault with. Such gardeners belong to the same class as those quack doctors, who will not be loath to make you believe that they can give a box of pills, or some other trash, which will cure humanity of all the ills to which it is heir. Let the gardener who plants Pears upon the Quince understand that he has got a very different subject to treat than the Pear upon the Pear. The latter is in its natural and most congenial position; the former is, as it were, a sojourner and a stranger in a foreign land. The former is sure to succeed if the soil and climate suit, if root-pruning is attended to regularly, and the tree kept free from its various and many enemies.

But then there are many soils and situations where the Pear will not succeed upon the Pear unless deep artificial borders are made.

The west of Scotland, as I formerly said, is one of these, the average depth of soil in many of its districts not being more than 12 to 15 inches, while close beneath this lies a stratum of gravel highly impregnated with iron. Now, I will ask any reasonable man, will the Pear stock succeed in such a position, seeing that it must be utterly impossible to keep the roots from entering this bad substratum even suppose we had the power of root-pruning once a-month? It might be possible for a few years, but only for a few. Almost as soon as the tree began to bear, disease, canker, and death would be draining its very life-blood out at every leaf. Another enemy we here have to contend against is wet; and I believe and know from experience that the Quince is a better resister of damp than the Pear, where properly managed.

I have here about five dozen Pears on the Quince and five dozen on the Pear. They are open for inspection to every inquirer. They are five and six years of age, and I have no hesitation in decidedly affirming that those upon the Quince are the best trees, produce the best wood yearly, which ripens as hard and brown as a Vine, and, to add to all, their appearance is much more handsome; and from what I have seen elsewhere, when they arrive at full bearing, the Quince will prove the more profitable investment of the two.

Those worked upon the Pear will be root-pruned this year in autumn, which will be the second time during their five years' existence, and in some cases it will have been oftener.

Those upon the Quince we manage in quite a different way. Every year, or at least every two years, we cut a trench round each plant, being as careful as possible not to injure one of the roots. We often remove the soil away from them to a little extent, to enable us to get the fresh materials placed as near the body of the roots as possible. This being done, we introduce a fresh mixture of richly-manured loam, placing the roots which were laid bare into their position as we proceed. We also proceed to uncover the upper surface all over the extent of the plant to the depth of 3 or 4 inches, or until we find that we are coming into contact with the upper roots. Into this we place 3 inches of good rotten dung, covering the whole over with an inch or two of soil. Now no one can deny but that there is as little trouble in doing this as in root-pruning; and if this be the case, and the after-results prove better, the advantage entirely lies with the Quince stock.

Our reasons for proceeding upon these principles with the Pear upon the Quince are as follows: The Quince, as every one knows, is a weakly grower compared to the Pear, therefore by placing the Pear upon it we are imposing a burden greater than it can bear in a natural way. We therefore are hard taskmasters, and worse than Pharaoh, who expected the children of Israel to make bricks without straw, if we do not use the means, by providing the meat ready at hand for the use of the Quince, so that it may be enabled to procure at once an abundant supply of food for the capacious stomach of its glutton brother who is saddled upon its back for life.

It is impossible that the Quince can do the work required of it by the Pear without assistance, and it is still more wonderful that so many intelligent and able gardeners should expect it to do so. It is as if, should we choose to place the donkey in the horse's cart, the donkey should be expected and compelled to bear the horse's burden.

I trust, if I failed to convey my full argument upon "The Quince stock" when treating of the Pear, that I have now done so. No doubt others may have different opinions upon the matter in hand, and if they have found the issue of their labours different from mine, they are quite entitled to hold their ground with steadiness and firmness; but if those who are of the reverse opinion to what I am will give my principles a fair trial, I have no doubt that in the course of a few years their war-cry at the "battle of the Pears" will be, "The Quince! the Quince for ever!"

I am much obliged to Mr Simpson for the very kind and gentlemanly manner in which he opened up the subject, and trust that what I now have said may prove of interest to the many readers of the 'Gardener ' who may not have fully understood the ground upon which I defended the Quince. James M'Millan.