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perfection. It is sometimes called forget-me-not; but the plant to which that name rightfully belongs is of a different genus.
Dorotiicum Caucasicum is widely different from any of those named above. It is a composite flower; that is, formed like a single aster, or a white-weed of the meadows: but it is of the brightest yellow, and, blooming in large clumps, makes a gay show in the garden.
Anemone Pulsatilla is one of the best of spring flowers. It is of a bluish purple, star-shaped when fully open, and resting upon a tuft of finely-cut leaves. It has proved perfectly hardy here; but, whether it would do so in all other situations of this latitude, we are not prepared to say. Probably it would be winter-killed in a wet, cold soil: in a moderately dry one, it may safely be trusted.
The Finai, or periwinkle, improperly called the myrtle, — a name which belongs to plants very different, — is too well known to need description. Besides the common single blue species, there is a double blue variety and a pure white one, both very good. There are also varieties with variegated leaves; the one marked with yellow streaks and shadings, the other with white. All these belong to the species Vinca minor, which has the excellent qualities of perfect hardiness, and of growing in the shade of trees, where the deep glossy green of its neat foliage will serve to carpet bare earth where little else will live; but, to make it bloom in perfection, you must give it sun and air. There is another species, Vinca major, equally attractive, but much less hardy. A New-England winter commonly kills it to the earth, leaving the roots alive; so that the plant grows again in the following spring. The variegated variety of Vinca major is very striking. Its large leaves are shaded with white, which, in contrast with their rich green, makes it one of the best of variegated plants. It can be grown out of doors by being covered with leaves and boards in winter.
The Attbrietias are early flowers not much known here, but exceedingly pretty. Several circular tufts of them, as large as a foot-cushion, are now a dense mass of purple bloom, almost hiding the foliage from sight. They have been in their places for four or five years, improving in beauty every spring.
Dklytra cucullaria is a native plant, smaller and far more delicate than
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the showy Chinese dielytra now so common. It is of low growth, with clusters of pink-and-white flowers, which, from their eccentric shape, have given the plant the popular name of " Dutchman's breeches." Like many other forest-flowers, its culture requires some care, which, if successful, is repaid by the delicacy and prettiness of this very graceful little plant.
April 21.—Forsythia viridissima. The flowers of this shrub, like those of the mezereum, appear before the leaves. Its tendency is to a loose, straggling growth; but this can be completely corrected by a judicious pruning. When the bush is thus induced to grow compactly, it becomes, in the spring, a mass of vivid yellow; each one of its slender shoots being covered with flowers, followed, a week or two later, by the rich green foliage to which it owes its specific name. The other Forsythia — Forsythia suspensa — is hardly worth cultivating.
The following currants — the Missouri, Seaton's, and the Ribes sanguinea—follow close on the Forsythia, with their drooping clusters of yellow, orange, and red, than which few early flowers are more ornamental. At the same time, the flowers of the Cydonia, or Pyrus Japonica, begin to open. No family of shrubs is more beautiful, or more worthy of culture; for they are hardy and enduring as they are attractive. Their flowers run through various shades, from deep scarlet to a flesh-color, approaching white. There are semi-double varieties, and it is said that a yellow Cydonia has lately been discovered. For depth and vividness of color, the old red Cydonia has scarcely a rival in the whole catalogue of shrubs.
April 24.— Corydalis nobilis. A fine perennial, remarkable for the beauty of its foliage, and for its large, dense clusters of yellow flowers, spotted with black.
April 26. — Iberis sempervirens and Iberis wrrcefolia, side by side with the opening buds of the " Guinea-hen tulip," — Fritillaria mcleagris. These Iberis are perennial candy-tufts. The first is pretty well known; but the second is scarcely known at all, though it is one of the finest of hardy herbaceous plants. It is covered with clusters of the purest white flowers, contrasted with evergreen foliage of a deep shining green, and its bloom continues a long time. It has stood here five winters uninjured.
Magnolia conspicua and Magnolia Sottlangeana are opening their large, cup-like flowers; the one of a creamy white, the other deeply shaded with purple. A tree fifteen or eighteen feet high, covered by hundreds of these rich buds and blossoms, is one of the most splendid garden decorations which any season can boast. In the shrubbery below, the yellow clusters of the Afahonia begin to open, much like those of the common barberry, but far larger, and brighter in color..
Trillium grandiflorum unfolds its large triangular flowers of snowy whiteness; and the polyanthus, cowslip, and primrose, with their relative the auricula, display their many-colored blossoms. All these deserve more than a passing word; but we reserve them for the next month, when they are in their perfection.
We have reached now the end of April, and with it the limit assigned to this paper. In the next number, we shall speak of the flowers of May.
GRAPES IN 1866.
I Purpose to give the readers of this journal a brief resume of my experience with various kinds of grapes during the present year, indulging in a few introductory statements by way of preface.
My interest in grape-culture dates from the year 1862; and ever since that season I have taken the liveliest pleasure in planting vines, testing new varieties, raising seedlings, and accumulating from my own observations and notes all the information possible, both for my own guidance, and to help those friends who may have caught the grape-fever later than myself.
I compile, therefore, the present paper from a carefully-kept note-book, not only as a pleasant duty, but inspired with the notion that perhaps my brief experience may induce some yet grapeless man to plant one vine,— the progenitor of many, — and thus introduce himself to a new pleasure and most fascinating pursuit.
As, in fruit-growing, the results obtained in any given season, however anomalous they may be, are more or less directly influenced by the character of the previous year, a word or two about 1864 and 1865 may not be out of place.
The summer of 1864 was distinguished for the long-continued drought and steady hot weather that prevailed from June to August.
The weather up to June 8 was very dry. A slight shower occurred on the afternoon of that day; and from that time until the first week in August not a drop of rain fell, while intolerable heat reigned supreme.
Vines made, perhaps, a little less wood than usual, but did not suffer at all: on the contrary, even the smallest and feeblest ripened their wood finely; and what was made was firm and hard. Grapes ripened early; and frost in gardens kept off till the 8th of October, affording even the late varieties a chance to mature their fruit.
No leaf-blight, mildew, or rot, came under my observation in 1864.
The season of 1865 was characterized by an extremely early spring (the roads being in good order, and free from all signs of mud, the second week in March), freedom from late frosts in May, very changeable weather until the middle of August, heat and drought lasting up to the 20th of September, and by the prevalence of mildew from the 19th of July till the last of August.
If we say nothing of the mildew,— and that, after all, did very little real damage, — we may pronounce 1865 an excellent year for grapes in this locality, and very early withal; Concords and Delawares ripening at least a fortnight earlier than they did in 1864.
The Delawares on my vines were fit to eat, although not dead-ripe, on the 3d of September; and Concords were about as far advanced on the 5th.
Before the 19th of July, I had sulphured my favorite vines, as a matter of precaution; and on that day I detected the first spot of mildew, which made considerable headway by the middle of August, when it began to diminish, and soon disappeared.
The vines that were the most affected by the mildew were the Adirondac, Delaware, Diana, Isabella, Israella, and some seedlings from the Catawba: those that were slightly injured were the Rogers 4, 15, 19, To Kalon, and Clara; while Allen's Hybrid, Concord, Iona, Clinton, and Taylor escaped untouched. The mildew of 1865 in this locality affected only the leaves; i.e., there were no signs of that disease upon the berries, which certain writers call mildew, but which, as unfortunately seen in some places this year, appears to have a nearer affinity to' the rot.
I have been unable during the present season to see any bad results, any weakness or feeble growth among my vines, that could be traced to the leaf-mildew of last season; and I think that this disease, although it alarms the novice, is, when it occurs late in the season, after buds are well formed and wood half ripened, of no great consequence, and not likely to do any permanent injury.
That vine which mildewed worst last summer, a large Delaware, has bome a splendid crop of well-ripened fruit this season, without losing a leaf till frost.
The winter of 1865-6 was one of great severity. On the 8th of January, 1866, the mercury was reported in various localities in this vicinity as standing from 140 to 170 Fahrenheit. This "cold snap" killed the buds of peach-trees that had been carefully wrapped in straw, and undoubtedly destroyed tender grapes that were left exposed; but my delicate varieties were all covered with earth, except a number of Catawba seedlings, which were utterly destroyed. As usual, I did not cover any of my Concord vines, nor did I have a single bud of this variety injured. The Concord is proof, not only against cold, but against sudden changes from warm to cold, and vice versa.
The present season, although in very many respects about as bad for grape-raising as it could be, has, in a certain sense, encouraged amateurs and others to go on with what they have begun, to plant more vines, and to continue their experiments in search of improved varieties.
The process of reasoning that encourages us is very simple. If grapes do as well this extremely bad year as we see they have done, we may confidently expect a return for our labor every year; and, in two years out of three, we must have far better success than we have had • the present season.
The spring was extremely cold and backward: vines were slow in starting, but not tardy enough to escape a most disastrous frost that fell on the night of the 14th of May. A great many vines that escaped the frost set their bunches imperfectly. Cold, chilly nights in August checked the ripening of the berries; and rather early frosts in September came in as a crowning trial and vexation.
If, after all this, we succeeded in getting good crops of Concords, Dela