Another legend belongs to the potato-beetle, which some of the farmers in this neighborhood vow will not trouble potatoes planted in a hill with beans; but this is merely a legend. We have tried it, and find the creatures as lively as ever.
To return to sludgite, I would say that its highest practical use is upon trees and shrubs without blossoms, for the sticky yellow fluid cannot be sprinkled upon roses without spoiling their fairness. So far it does not seem to damage foliage, but we cannot answer for the effect of such a viscid decoction if used many times a day. We have never tried it more than twice in twenty-four hours. It kills or drives away the insects that are there, but others appear immediately, so that such insecticides are little better than substitutes for hand-picking.
Our struggles with the hated rose-bug, and the hopeless nature of any prolonged encounter with an inferior organism of overwhelming numbers, find such clear expression in the words of a correspondent, that I subjoin an extract from a letter of a lady who has had similar sufferings with another insect: -
" 1 am passing through the discouraging season of gardening, and am realizing more than ever the nature of Adam's curse-It sounds like a fine thing to be told we shall have dominion over the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, but what gain is there in that if we are to be beaten in the end by the angle-worm, the ant, and the snail? To fight with a snail, and be beaten, is n't that humilation? But I stand in the place of the vanquished, and it is the snail that has done it. I was born a sentimentalist, and had scruples about ' taking away the life thou canst not give,' that once hindered my career as a gardener. Now I grieve over the imperfect nature of the snail's nervous system that makes even death apparently painless,
" But he keeps up with the times, does the snail; he reads the seed catalogues, and he knows that Asters cost more than Marigolds; he has an eye for beauty, too; he knows a foliage plant very early in its career, and his taste is always for red rather than green.
"The snail is a much underrated power; his calmness, his persistence, his retiring nature, his thick-skinned endurance, make him a type that is bound to survive, and I predict for him a glorious future. If he can only find enough fools to cultivate gardens for his use he will enter in and possess the land, and develop into something quite grand." All of which quotation, with slight variation, will answer for our winged pest.
I was quite touched by the prediction of a member of the horticultural society of that State, that apparently the whole of southern New Jersey will have to be abandoned to the rose-bug. This adds a new terror to the already complicated legislation of that unhappy region, for I am convinced, from my experience, that if the rose-bug wants anything he will get it, and no doubt we shall live to see him sitting in the gubernatorial chair.