You would hardly suppose that there is a man, woman, or child, in all the world, who could not learn the art of "stopping" the shoots of plants and trees at one lesson - pinch out the top of the shoot with the forefinger and thumb, and the thing is done in a moment. So it is, sure enough; but there is no art in that way of doing it at all; and may be a great deal of mischief in it, and there often is.

I once lived with a gentleman who never went about in the country without his walking-stick, which had a "spud" on the bottom end, with which he was constantly routing out docks, thirties, and other noxious weeds, in and round the fields and plantations, wherever he went; also the plantains and daisies on the lawn, and such weeds as he could see in the beds or borders; and, to the last, I could never convince him that he often did more harm than good by so doing. It was his way, and he could no more help it than I could. A Groundsel, or a Shepherd's Purse, or a Dandelion, and many more such common weeds, take several days after the flowers open before they seed,or do anymore harm than is done already; meantime, some one passes by that way who pulls out the weed, and carries it out of the way at once, or sends some one else to weed that bed or border; but the "governor" gets there before him, with the everlasting spud and the ruling passion, twists down the Groundsel with one turn of the spud, cuts the neck of the dandelion in two, or makes a hole in the grass, big enough to play marbles into, trying to root out a plantain or a daisy - all of which is doing more harm than good.

The Groundsel has sap enough in it to ripen its seeds while it lies unperceived till the mischief is done, till a fresh crop of seedlings spring up. 60 the bottom half of the broken neck of the dandelion sends up four heads for the lost one, and there are thus four chances that the mischief will run much farther than it would were it not for the spud. In short, I would as soon let a Welsh goat into the shrubbery, as let an amateur spudder into any part of my own garden.

There are other people, and most of them are nice, amiable people, who never do any real harm in a garden, save one kind of mischief, and that they do unknowingly to themselves. It is their way of "stopping." If they stop a thing, they think it is stopped for good, and there is an end of it; but the end is no better than from spudding; they pull up the weed, and, may be, shake the soil from the roots; but they throw it down in the same place, and if it is of the seedling class, a crop of seeds is sown there before the gardener sees that a dead or a dying weed was there at all; whereas, if this weed had been left standing, he would have seen it the next time he passed that way; and he would " stop'9 it according to the rules of his own art; he would have it up, root and branch, and carried off at once; and all those who stop weeds on any other plan do, or may do, more harm than good.

There are other masters, and some mistresses, too, who read a great deal about gardening without ever studying one single word on the subject. You would take them to be very clever on gardening from their conversation, but if you saw their "stopping," you would just think as I do, and I think a great deal, at times, about such things. The meaning of a sentence of much import may be lost by putting the comma, the smallest "stop," in the wrong place; and it is the same if you apply the smallest stopping to plants and trees; stopping a shoot at the wrong time, or in the wrong place, may spoil the shape of a specimen, the flowering of the best geranium, the fruiting or the future crop of a vine or a peach, or any one plant you may think of; and yet these superficial people think there is no art in stopping, beyond the mere process of doing the act, from the weeding of the walks, up to the regulation of the branches of the Mangosteen itself. Yon have only to put their stopper on, and all is right; and must be right, for they have read of it, and knew it years ago! - Cottage Gardener.