Air, in conjunction with light, hardens the outer coat - chemically speaking, fixes the carbon - which it is the object of germination to destroy. I have no doubt seeds would "swell" in distilled water, though I can think of no direct experiment of the kind just now; but even water plants must send their true leaves to the surface in search of air, immediately after germination.

All these principles teach us that in preserving the vitality of seeds, or in accelerating their germination, a great part of our attention has to be directed to their outer coverings. Seeds can not lose their vitality while these remain perfect, while they will be in a condition to vegetate whenever this covering is prepared to admit moisture. The different results in the experience of different parties in the time required by certain seeds to grow, is entirely dependent on this. If A preserves his seed during the* winter so that the husk becomes hard and bony, while B guards his from such a contingency, the latter will arrive at much more speedy results than the former. Let us take an example: the Sugar Maple will do. A gathers his at the fall of the leaf, preserves it in a dry seed-room, sows it in the spring, and - it does not come up till twelve months afterwards. But B gathers it at the same time, puts it in the ground at once, and gets fine plants the next season; or, he gathers his seeds by the end of August, saves them in a cool room till spring, sows them, and difference?" Simply that B never allows his seeds to get hard.

He places them in the ground to keep their shells soft; or, to the same end, he gathers them, not before their embryos are fully formed, but before their coats have become indurated, and adds to his precaution by keeping them cool till sown. This is a simple experiment, which any one may test for himself.

In successfully raising seed, there is more in this gathering of them before they are what is popularly called quite ripe, than one is at first disposed to admit I was many years ago struck by this through accident On a visit to a friend, he pointed out what he then considered extremely rare, a most beautiful double orange African Marigold. My friend wished to keep it to himself, - he would give no seed, but he presented me with a flower. When this flower had faded, and was cast aside, seeing the seed looked black and good, I saved them, and at the next spring's sowing I sowed them at the same time with the yellow, which we had. They appeared several days before the others. Simple as this was, it led me to ponder on what we gardeners had always held inexplicable, namely, that on sowing Hawthorn seeds some should come up in one year, while, of the same sowing, some should not appear till the second or third year; and I have since been led to the conclusion, by many similar observations and experiments, that those which came up first were "greener" when gathered than those which took a longer period.

At the risk of being a little "dreadful" in long narrations, I will detail a few observations on the Victoria seed, which bears well on the present subject The seeds received from England by Mr. Cope, through Mr. Downing and Sir W. J. Hooker, readily germinated. "Those which ripened at Springbrook in September and October the fall following, also readily grew any time through the winter, on being sown for a few weeks. Our plant was flowering all that winter and spring, and in the summer I set myself to collect a good quantity of well-ripened seeds, but they were too fast for me, bursting and sowing themselves. Subsequently I cut one off before it was ripe, or at least before it burst open. These were put in an old wine bottle, and many of those self-sown were raked up with a net and placed in another bottle, which chanced to be a white-colored one. They were all placed in the same place. Those in the black bottle grew in a few weeks, in the bottle. Looking alone at the known influence of the absence of light in assisting germination, I took that to be the cause; but last year the circumstances were repeated in every respect except that the bottles were reversed, and with the same result except that the seeds which grew this time were in the light-colored bottle.

This seems confirmatory of what I have advanced in favor of seeds not seemingly ripe; but the Victoria still further "confirms this confirmation." The well-ripened seeds, by Mr. Cope's liberality, were distributed over the whole Union; but, with one instance, I believe, excepted, failed to grow. Even in our own tank I could never succeed in raising one of these so-ripened seeds, except in February, March, or April, after they had lain a very long time in pans; and those which were self-sown in summer, never appeared any season till the following spring, when they would all appear simultaneously. Last year, warned by these observations, I sowed all the seed in the latter part of the season, and before they were quite ripe; and I am informed that this season no difficulty whatever is experienced in raising seedlings in a few weeks, whenever wanted.

So much for saving seed which we wish to germinate readily. But let it not be forgotten, that if we wish to preserve seed safe and sound to a remote period, the reverse of this must be aimed at; that is, the riper the seed can be obtained, the better. Now, supposing the seed come to hand dry and hard, perhaps from some foreign country - perhaps old, or perhaps from having been preserved only for a few months in an old coat pocket, seed chest, or some other dry, warm place, - how are we to proceed Still look to the softening of its shell. Suppose, for instance, we have a barrel of Peach stones to sow at once some spring, which perchance have been stowed away during the whole winter in the dry store of some dealer. What shall we do; crack them Yes, that may do, but it is a tedious operation - can't afford so much time; can do for them in a better way than that Lay them anywhere aside thinly. To-day, with a water-pot, pour boiling water on them; to-morrow let them dry; the next day again pour boiling water on them, as before. Several successive days of this treatment will do. Another way is, to expose them anywhere to a heat of 100°, or thereabout, for a few hours; afterward pour cold water on them; then dry them again.