A STRIKING illustration of the progress of refinement in America might be drawn from the improvements made in planting, in the kind of ornamental trees and shrubs which we assemble now around our homesteads, as compared with half a century ago. In our fathers' time, European and other voyages were too slow to insure the probable safety of evergreens and other valuable novelties. Our grandmothers, when they moved from the Atlantic coast to distant Ohio, traveled on horseback and carried in saddle-bags apple seeds for planting, and hence the new and often good varieties. The trees themselves they could not carry. So of the European and Asiatic, and other beautiful productions. Steam stepped in just in time to benefit a growing taste for the beautiful in arboriculture, and all China and Japan yielded, in the time of persons still living, the wonders of other lands. Think for a moment of the riches sent home by fortune alone, and but yesterday was actually discovered the great trees of California, and we found such valuable adjuncts to our arboretums as the Cupressus Lawsoniana. Steam now enriches every land with the valuable products of every other.

Acclimatisation, known and practiced from great antiquity, has cut its art; we now possess such a range of beautiful botany as would have astonished the dwellers of the North but a short time since.

What will grow in certain climates is an interesting study. Just on the limits of a frozen region, we, of Philadelphia, have the Ivy and the Codar of Lebanon, with, little or no care or attention, while but a few miles north of us their successful growth is impossible. I began my planting experiments forty or more years ago, when I was fascinated with Loudons' writings, and lost of course about one-half of every importation, for then we had in the United States no Downing, in short no teacher on this and kindred topics.

And here let me remark that the literature of gardening and planting is leaving out, for other and important topics, that grand feature of home adornment, ornamental tree planting. We see too little published on new evergreens, and very few, if any, instructions as to their hardiness are now promulgated. Climates should be studied and information given more copiously on these matters, for a new race of amateurs grows up rapidly, and they will not always turn to older authorities.

It may be said that the best trees, like the best people, are the scarcest! The pleasure of variety, even in small grounds, is little understood; it is very common to have half a dozen or more of one kind of trees on half an acre; six Norway firs would be better supplied by two, and a few of the finest Magnolias substituted ; and who wants a dozen Wiegelias ? as we often see them. But here is a wide field for discussion, and I turn to the main object of this paper, which is to advise frequent and moderate importations.

It is a fact that the climates of France and England admit of the seeds of even our indigenous trees to be sent thither, and young trees to be returned to us at a cheaper rate than we can produce them here ; this is partly owing to cheapness of labor and the employment of women. Take for an instance the general favorite, the Norway Fir, Abiesexcelsa. I have been for thirty-five years in the habit of importing them for the use of Laurel Hill Cemetery, a few thousand say every other year; yearling plants are sold by Andre Leroy of Angers, France, as low as $3.50 per thousand, and two years old, and transplanted trees, at only five dollars, say half a cent each. These are so packed as to be prepared for reaching even our Western States in good health, where they would make the best shelter. Everybody knows what they will be worth in five years, more or less, and I therefore recommend a trial to all who have a little money or a great deal, and who have patience to wait the transformation of one cent into a green-back. In each' importation I include one or more specimen of some new and rare conifer or deciduous tree, and always a few hundred small Rhododendrons, etc.

In this way Laurel Hill and its successor, "West Laurel Hill," now rising to great beauty, is regularly enriched, and thus I am able to exhibit fine mature cones, for instance of the Cedar of Lebanon, planted by myself in 1836. But one of several trees has come into bearing ; it is curious, as illustrating the effects of exposure and warmth, that these cones grow only on the southern side of the tree now thirty-five feet high.

With such a resource as these nurseries afford, there is no occasion of sending to distant points for trees; they are on the spot, and removed to proper places without the delay which attends a long transportation. Add to these a nursery always in progress of plenty of American Arbor Vitaes and Hemlocks taken annually from the forests of Maine or Pennsylvania, and every one fond of planting, whether for private grounds, parks or cemetries, will be in possessession of an inexpensive resource. Our public parks started in a hurry were without this resource, but it is never too late to begin, for trees and shrubs will always be in request.

As an instance of what may be done in this way, a landscape gardener assured me that my importation of three years ago would be worth to him this and next spring five thousand dollars. Its actual cost all told, delivered and planted, was three hundred dollars! England and Scotland afford fine fields for importers, and France, we may hope, will soon offer its former facilities.