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pruning. We have seen fine fruit produced from a vine not pruned at all, but left -to run over the top of a tree; yet few are prepared to adopt such trellises for their vines.
The Yellow Crab-apple. — This is not only a very ornamental tree when in blossom in June, or when covered with its golden fruit in autumn, but very useful, as its fruit, if properly treated, furnishes the most delicious jelly. Then the fruit may be preserved in various ways, all very agreeable to the taste. The tree is one of the most hardy, and usually gives a large crop of fair fruit. No garden is complete without one or more of these beautiful and useful trees. It is rather upright in growth, but forms a handsome head.
Large Red Crab-Apple. — This is another good variety of the crab, but not so showy as the former. It is worthy of a place, however, as it is in all respects quite as useful as the yellow variety. One variety of the large red resembles the yellow in shape; and another is more flat, with a shorter stem.
Small Red Crab-apple. — This variety presents a very beautiful appearance when in blossom, and also when in fruit; though the fruit is much smaller than the former-named varieties. The wood is smaller, and the habit of the tree less upright. It is used for the same purposes as the others, but is not quite so profitable. All of them may be budded or grafted on to the common wild apple, though the stock of a free-growing tree often outgrows the bud or scion.
Montgomery Grape. — I mail you to-day a photograph of a cluster of medium size, from a heavily-fruited three-year-old Montgomery Vine.
This unfavorable season, a row of six vines, about equally laden, ripened half their crop between the 5th and 20th of September; the balance all ripe now, and the foliage beautiful until this frosty morning.
This cluster weighed twenty-three ounces, is pale-green, with faint straw color on sunny side, covered with a white bloom; the fruit so like the Chasselas, that it is always suspected of being that variety by the knowing ones, until the foliage shows the contrary fact. This vine has been acclimated about eighty years, from unknown origin, in a town in Pennsylvania; and was introduced here by the Montgomery Family of Poughkeepsie, about twenty years since: wherefore the nanw, extemporized for neighborhood convenience for want of the proper name, and not a usurpation by the family.
In thin, warm, gravelly, or sandy soils, it is immensely prolific, of magnificent clusters of slightly acid though melting and vinous dessert fruit, which, though ripe in September, keeps well all winter. The vine is about as hardy as the Adirondac and Allen's Hybrid; a strong, short-jointed grower, better for protection in winter, and shading from mid-day sun in summer; much inclined to overbear. It is better for close pruning and thinning; and, so treated, the established vine produces huge clusters of the marvellous weight of four pounds. Newburgh, N.Y., Oct 8. W. A. P.
Habrothamnus Berries. — Grown on a pillar in a conservatory, Uabrofhamnus elegans blooms freely from the autumn onwards, and, during winter, matures its large and beautiful clusters of rich rosy violet-colored fruit, which equal in size those of the Black Cluster or Verdelho grapes, and prove it to be most useful for decoration at a season when flowers and fruit for decorative purposes are extremely valuable.
The Cultivation Of Passiflora Laurifolia. Or Water-lemon.— This fruit, which is becoming popular, is of very easy culture.
Supposing that you have a plant well established in a six-inch pot, say in January, shift it at once into a twelve-inch pot, and place it in a stove where there is a bottom-heat of 8o° and a top heat of 65°. If all go on favorably, the plant will be well established by March: and then comes the final shift, which must be into a box or tub three feet in diameter, two feet six inches deep, and provided with good drainage; or, still better, into a bed suited for pines. The soil which 1 find best is good turfy loam, rough peat, and silver sand in equal parts. Train the branches upwards to the roof, along the lightest part of it, and as near the glass as practicable. Let the laterals hang clown from the roof, and they will grow, and produce flowers very freely by July. These must be impregnated with the pollen of Passiflora ccemlea, or some other common kind, as their own will not fertilize. The plant will require abundance of water at the root; and, if this be supplied, the fruit will swell very rapidly, and be ripe in about six weeks.
The fruit has a very pretty appearance; being about the size of a hen's egg, and in color of a bright yellow. Of the flavor I cannot say much, as it is rather inferior, like that of most other tropical fruits. The plant will continue fruiting until December, when it should be kept rather dry at the root, and in the temperature of a pine-stove. About the first week in March, give a good watering at the root, which will excite the plant into growth again, and the flowers will soon appear, and continue all the summer.
How To Grow Phloxes. — To have phloxes in the finest possible condition, they must not be planted out in the borders, and left to their fate; but they must have some cultural attention. The following course of treatment may be recommended: —
In February, pot a few plants in light, rich, loamy soil, and place them in a greenhouse or frame. They will soon make shoots long enough for cuttings; and these can be quickly rooted in a moderate hot-bed, with verbenas or other bedding-plants; and, after being properly potted and hardened off, they will be fit to plant out in May.
In selecting a situation for planting out, a spot where there is a little shelter from strong winds is to be preferred; but otherwise it should be fully exposed to all the air and sunshine. The soil should be enriched with some good rotten manure; and, when the plants get strong, they should be liberally watered with liquid manure. They should be planted about fifteen inches apart for the first season's blooming, which will commence about August, and continue till the end of September; but, in the ensuing spring, they should be replanted, placing them eighteen or twenty inches apart for the second year's blooming, which will begin in July, and, if the plants are prevented from seeding, will go on till the end of September. Care should be taken to have a stake to each plant; and, as the shoots advance in growth, they should be securely tied to it. If this is neglected, they are very likely to be snapped off close to the ground. A slight wind is sufficient to do this, and then the plant is spoiled for the season.
If a phlox is well managed, it will be in its prime in the second year of its flowering. Early in the spring, when the shoots are three or four inches long, it is agio! plan to thin them. A good two-year-oli plant will generally start more shoots than are required; but five or six only should be left to go up for flowering. The spare shoots make excellent cuttings; but they can seldom be rooted early enough to flower the same year like those obtained from plants put into a greenhouse in February. However, the plants obtained from these cuttings make fine flowering-plants for the next year.
But little can be done in arranging phloxes according to their height: indeed, in this respsct (with two or three exceptions), there is very little difference between them. The first year they generally flower when about fifteen or eighteen inches high; but the same plants in the second year will grow two or three feet high.
A continual succession of young plants should be kept up by cuttings. Dividing the old roots is a clumsy method of increasing the stock; and plants obtained in this way seldom produce fine healthy foliage and good flowers. A phlox should be thrown away when it gets over two years old, and a young plant put in its place. Sometimes phloxes may be placed here and there in mixed borders or shrubberies, where they help to make a garden gay, and furnish a supply of cut flowers; but the spare plants only ought to be used for this purpose, as they never, under this treatment, produce such fine flowers as when they have a place to themselves.
Phloxes may be easily grown in pots by attending to the instructions given for growing them in the open ground; only they require more care in watering.
The varieties of Phlox djcussata are the best and hardiest, and have been very much improved lately. There used to be some pretty varieties of Phlox pyramidalis; but they are delicate, and have given place to the former.
Summer Pruning. — Few persons are fully aware of the advantages of summer pruning, especially as applied to the pear-tree. Thrifty-growing dwarfs particularly need pinching in during the summer, and the fruit on such trees is greatly benefited by such management. We recently visited a pearorchard, all dwarfs, where the trees had been highly manured, and had made great growth, and were still growing, though the trees had set a large crop of fruit. Now, it would have been very much better for the fruit if the owner could have found the time to have stopped all the shoots after they had grown four or five inches, and saved the strength of the tree somewhat. They will require severe shortening in this fall or next spring, or the trees will lose their beauty of form, become straggling, and cease to be fruitful. One of the best cultivators of dwarf pears in Massachusetts trains his trees very much as a grape-grower does
VOL. IL 48
his grape-vines, —on the spur-system,—and, after his fruit has set, pinches in all the laterals, and allows the trees to make but very little growth. It is very clear that a tree, whether dwarf or standard, cannot bear fruit to any great extent, and at the same time make great growth. Many varieties are inclined to run to wood too much, and they should be pruned; while some, such as the Bartlett, just as soon as they begin to bear, which is quite early, will nearly cease growing, and expend its energies in producing fruit. It is not wise to cut back severely in summer, but to pinch from time to time to prevent excessive growth. The same will hold true of dwarf apple-trees: pinching in or stopping the most thrifty branches or leading shoots will be found to be of great advantage. Peach-trees, both in tubs and in the orchard, if time will allow, will be greatly improved in form, and the wood will ripen better, if the vigorous leading shoots are stopped. Whether it will pay to carry the work still further, and summer-prune standard pear and other trees, will depend upon circumstances. As a general rule, after a tree gets to bearing, it will not grow so excessively as to need the thumb and finger to stop the leaders. This work may seem formidable; but it is not really so, but may be done quite rapidly, and will generally pay for the trouble. Currant and gooseberry bushes will be greatly improved by this summer pruning or pinching-in; but it should be attended to early in the season.
Deutzia CRenATA Flore Pleno. — This variety was introduced a few years ago, and has now been in cultivation long enough to gain an established character. The flowers are perfectly double, and grow profusely in large clusters. Where they got their peculiar coloring is a mystery. Neither the old D. crenata, nor any other of the race, as far as we are aware, shows any trace of it; for their flowers are pure white. The peculiarity consists in a very delicate and beautiful shading of pink, which is most distinct in the outer petals, passing into white towards the centre. The shrub has the habit of the wellknown D. scabra, though it is much smaller. It is of about the same degree of hardiness, and has stood four winters with us uninjured. It is one of the prettiest shrubs in existence, and grows well in common garden-soil. — F. P.
About The Door. — A bit of shrubbery in the yard, a vine climbing by a trellis, a strip of refreshing green spread from the door, are sure to make a place of greater marketable value; which, with many-, is a consideration to be thought of before any other. Such need no further appeal to their sense of neatness, then. But those who really love the suggestions of beauty for their own sake will not omit the turf-patch, the shrubbery, and the hedge and vine, because they make almost any home more attractive and lovely, and cause the sentiments to sprout like the very leaves and buds themselves. How few stop to consider what a powerful association lies lurking in every simple but familiar object, like a bush, a tree, a bit of grass, or a border of flowers! They are objects that hold us almost as steadily and strongly to home as wife and children: they are closely associated with these, in fact, and can with difficulty be separated. Therefore we say to all, "Brush up about the door, and plant near by an object of simple beauty. It will bear fruit in the heart a hundred-fold."
Ashes. —Suds. — A burglar once contented himself with carrying away from a store a heavy bag of specie. It proved to be of copper, and worth about ten dollars. Specie is not the only term that fails to indicate the value of the article it denotes. One of the great wants of vegetation is potassium. It is found sparingly in many rocks that are pulverized by frost and attrition. Most crops carry it away from the soil; and it is returned, in insufficient quantities, in manure. A considerable part of the potassium in our forests finds its way, after their destruction, into soap. Much of this is used in washing clothes, and is left in the water in the form of suds. The impurities which they contain add to their value as a manure. All of their fertilizing virtue should find its way to tillable soil, if possible.
Up to the time of the present generation, a pound of sodium would buy several pounds of potassium, both being in the form of carbonates. The sodium in salt was not reducible to this form, anJ all our carbonate of soda came from the ashes of sea-weed. The invention of a mode of manufacturing carbonate of soda from salt wrought a revolution in the chemical arts. A pound of carbonate of potassa will buy several times its weight of carbonate of soda, and twenty-three pounds of sodium is as efficient as thirty-nine pounds of potassium. We are not, then, to look for potassium in any thing in which sodium can replace it. In "potash" we may find little or none, and none in saleratus used for cooking. You find it in no soap except the soft-soap made in families with the lye leached from ashes. It is not improbable that plants may be able to substitute sodium for some part of the potassium they need; but it is on the same principle that cows on certain islands are said to eat fish. Though the gardener invariably overlooks the difference in the two kinds of suds, the plant will be sure to find it out. It fails to find a particle of that element which the soil most needs in suds made from the common bar-soap.
No one need be told that there is little resemblance between wood-ashes and coal-ashes. Unleached wood-ashes are of great use to the soil; and, in leached ashes, considerable potassium remains. We all know that it is not so with coalashes. It is curious to inquire whether the vegetation which originated the coal contained potassium; and, if so, what became of it. But it is a much more practicable question, what we shall do with our coal-ashes. How far will frost disintegrate the cinder or clinker? Having separated all large solid particles with a sieve, the rest may be used in diluting strong manures or tempering soils; but there is no point in the range of domestic economy on which ignorance is more universal than on that of utilizing coal-ashes. I. F. H.
South Malden, Mass.
Liquidambar. — This very ornamental tree, familiarly known as the gumtree, is hardy as far north as Boston; though, even there, sometimes winter-killed in exposed situations. For an ornamental tree for street-planting in the city, its elegant habit, fine foliage, freedom from disease, and exemption from the attacks of insects, especially recommend it.
It may be obtained of most nursery-men, and transplants readily. Should it not be extensively planted? E. S. R., Jun.