The importance of a supply of Violets in winter, and the universal esteem in which they are held for the pleasant odour they impart to rooms where flowers are admissable, as well as their general utility for a variety of other purposes, render their cultivation an object of ambition to all who are engaged in horticultural pursuits. Small bouquets of Violets are things that the most fastidious in taste never tire of, either in season or out of season; they are especial favourites with ladies when neatly arranged and surrounded with a few of their own bright green leaves; and they are also becoming fashionable for filling small glasses on the dinner-table, whilst they are highly prized in many places as pot-plants for the conservatory.

There are different ways of preparing plants for winter flowering in pots, any of which appear an easy method of cultivation on paper; but Violets, like most other plants, inherit their likes and dislikes to certain soils, situations, and localities. This fact is not, I fear, sufficiently recognised by those who are favoured with a suitable soil and a genial climate. It is a fact, also, that certain varieties succeed better in certain localities than others - and this is one of the main points that I would impress on intending cultivators. The situation the plants occupy during the summer months also contributes in no small degree to their flowering properties during winter; and if they are, perforce, subjected to varying conditions of climate, they should on that account be generously and skilfully cultivated in summer. Now, in all cases of plant-forcing (which changes the natural season of flowering, either earlier or later) there ought to be one principle kept in view, and that is never to try to obtain by forcing what can be achieved more satisfactorily by working quietly on a system nearest to that which approaches the natural state.

This is done by selecting such varieties of plants as are known to possess hardiness and constitution, and to be the earliest to flower under a natural state of cultivation. Then again, Violets are supposed to love the shade of trees, or at least situations where they are screened from strong sun. No doubt there is an amount of truth in this, as far as it refers to particular districts; but in localities where the rainfall is heavy and the sky not over bright for any lengthened period, it would be a mistake to grow these plants much in the shade for flowering in the open borders, much more for winter flowering in pots or beds; for although they may look in excellent condition as long as mild weather continues, their leaves are not hardened, nor their crowns in that advanced condition in which it is desirable to have them; and like other immatured plants when brought under the influence of heat, they produce leaves instead of flowers. It is therefore important to remember that whilst Violets like a degree of shade, there is a line to be drawn short of either extreme, especially with regard to plants intended for winter flowering.

Violets are increased annually from cuttings, and also from seed. The old plants are lifted from the borders about the beginning of April, which is the best time for propagating, as the young cuttings or runners soon root afresh with increasing warmth in the soil, and under the growing influence of April dews and showers. The cuttings will be found numerous enough growing in the form of runners round the crowns of the old plants; these should be removed with a sharp knife, and prepared for insertion into the soil by removing one or two of the bottom leaves and making a clean cut across the joint which forms the base of the cutting. There will also be numbers of the runners found to have formed roots in the soil, and these should be set aside by themselves. When a sufficient stock is prepared, a piece of rich ground on a west border should be chosen for planting the cuttings, a line should be laid across the border, and a shallow trench about 4 inches deep made with a spade; this trench should be filled up with leaf-mould mixed with sharp sand, into which the rooted portion of the young stock should be planted, the roots being made firm in the soil with the fingers.

The lines may be about 6 inches apart, and the cuttings about 2 inches or 3 inches apart in the row. The unrooted portion of the stock will be the better of a layer of sand being laid under their base, which will hasten the rooting process and preserve the cuttings while roots are being emitted; and in the case of scarce or choice varieties, it would be still better to have the cuttings protected by a cold frame till once they have taken root - a process that will soon take place if there is a growing atmosphere kept up within the frame, and the plants are not allowed to suffer from blinks of strong sun.

That portion of the stock which is but partially rooted and unprotected will also require a supply of moisture when it is deficient in the atmosphere, and be kept well watered at the root in case of dry weather. When the plants are well rooted and fit to be handled, they should be lifted with a five-pronged fork and arranged into three separate lots, according to size and appearance - viz., the finest and best rooted plants for pot-culture; the second best for flowering in frames; and the remainder to be planted out in a favourable site for giving a later supply of flowers in the spring.

It will be better to have all arrangements made for the reception of the plants in their respective quarters before they are disturbed from the cutting-bed, in order that the roots may receive no check through any delay. A number of 7 or 8 inch pots will be in readiness for potting - the pots having been clean washed and carefully crocked, and the soil also prepared beforehand. The soil should be a rich preparation of yellow loam, with something less than a third of well-rotted manure added; failing this, if the loam is light, a third of good honest clay which has been pulverised by exposure to the weather should be mixed with the soil: this addition will give body to a light compost, and will render it of a more enduring nature for the roots of the plants to feed on; it will also moderate the texture of the roots, and work a proportionate influence in the nature of the leaves and crowns favourable to their development for winter flowering. In potting, the soil should be made rather firm round their roots, and from one to three plants put into each pot, according to the size of the pot and other circumstances, which are more matters of personal taste than otherwise.

After potting, the plants should be plunged in a cold frame and shaded from the sun for a few days, till appearances indicate that fresh root-action has commenced. Where labour is a consideration, and the work is carried on by hands occasionally employed, or as a pastime by inexperienced hands, it would perhaps be as well to grow the plants in a self-shaded spot during the hottest summer months, where they would require less attention in watering, and where there would be less to dread from the ravages of red-spider, which is a destructive enemy in hot weather. Keeping the roots cool and in a healthy condition, and supplying them with what water they require, "and no more, "and syringing them overhead occasionally, by which the leaves are kept green and fresh, is the surest way of promoting vigour and fertility in the crowns. As the plants grow and increase in size they will produce young runners, which must be kept down regularly, so as not to waste any of their strength in forming lateral growths.

About the middle of August they should be more exposed gradually, and taken to a south aspect, where they should be plunged up to the rim of the pot either in coal-ashes or soil; if in the latter, they should stand on inverted pots, or on rubble of some sort, to keep a clear water-course. It will now be necessary to watch what effect the weather has on the leaves; and in case there is any appearance of suffering, some slight shade might be given during the hottest part of the day for a week or so, and syringe frequently overhead when it is safe to do so, both mornings and afternoons. The object of taking the plants to an exposed situation is to harden and mature the crowns, and to forward them into a flowering state, with the warm, genial, autumn weather. Where such work is accomplished by professional hands, the plants, after they are potted, might be plunged in an advantageous situation at once - placing a frame temporarily over them - where they could be shaded and nursed for a time, till they have gained strength, and are hardened by degrees to stand the action of the weather.

The frame might then be removed for the summer, and the details already laid down should be carried out with increased assiduity, owing to the more exposed position of the plants.

By the autumn, plants treated in this way will have formed broad prominent crowns, surrounded with sturdy foliage, which will stand our dark wintery weather vastly better than the more elongated and softer leaves formed under a system of coddling. A cold frame should be put over the plants as the days begin to grow short, and by housing time the crowns will be bristling with buds about the size of pin heads, which, if placed in a temperature of 50° to 55°, near the glass, will soon expand, and a rich return will be in store for the cultivator. The plants that are to be grown in pits or in beds will next occupy attention: a spent hotbed answers very well for this purpose by putting about 9 inches deep of rich compost over it, and planting out the plants at about a foot apart, and treating them as directed for plants in pots. These will also need protection early in autumn to bring them into an early flowering condition. We now come to those that are to be planted out in borders - and here, again, it will be unnecessary to repeat details.

One thing, however, I would point out, - that if there were more exposed situations selected for planting out Violets, and if they were more generously treated at the root, and sprinkled overhead with water on the evenings and mornings of hot days, people would meet with greater success. The varieties we grow here are the Czar, and a local variety which surpasses everything else for general cultivation. W. Hinds.