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Mulching may answer for young stock only three to four or five inches in the soil; but of what use is it to a tree which has its roots from ten to twenty below the surface? Instead of this, I should suggest good soil near the roots, principally rotten sods; then frequent hoeing during summer to keep the earth open and free from weeds, leaves, or insects; and a good spading before frost comes, leaving the ground rough or in big lumps.
This last operation — working the ground before winter — is of very great importance in regard to insects; since all that deposit eggs and larvae in the soil will deposit them at a depth sufficient to protect them against the frost. Some descend even a great deal deeper, and remain several years in the ground: but, in the fall, they will ascend, and stay during the winter below such a thickness of soil as Nature will teach them; and, in spring, they will take advantage of the soil loosened by the frost to burrow themselves through, and climb up the next trees. Now, it is natural, that by keeping the ground free from weeds, and by opening it by spading or ploughing, that will penetrate to a greater depth than it would do otherwise, and surprise and destroy a good many larvae that will be reached by this operation. It may also destroy the roots of biennial plants, and favor the action of the atmosphere upon the roots that will approach the surface.
A great advantage may be obtained in opening holes for trees before the winter by availing one's self of the influence of the frost. Supposing holes required of three feet square and two feet depth, this corresponds to eighteen feet, cubic measure. Admitting such holes opened before the winter, and the frost acting only on the inner surfaces to a depth of six inches all around, the result will be, that there will be twice the cubic quantity of soil, reduced to a much better condition, for the success of the roots. Such advantage must be obvious.
I have been in the United States for twelve years, and in this business from childhood, as were my ancestors for two generations. From our long, united experience, I am led to believe, that, whatever changes in other practices difference of climate may compel, the course here recommended will be found more or less advantageous everywhere.
Eug. A. Baumann.
Rahway, N. J.
The exotic species have all been introduced within thirty years; and, although most of them have emanated from the East, it is claimed, that, judging from specimens in Dr. Lindley's herbarium, there are many yet to introduce from South America which will vie in beauty with the very handsomest we now possess.
Two species from the Andes, figured in Reichenbach's "Xenia" under the names of Selenipedium Hartwegii and S. Boissierianum, are much finer, it is said, than any yet discovered in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Some species of Cypripedium remain an extraordinarily long time in flower. I find in " L'Illustration Horticole," published in Ghent for 1865, an astonishing statement in proof of this. It remarks in reference to C. Veikhiiz.% follows: "At the present time (Feb. 15), many individuals of this species are still in full and fresh bloom since the end of November."
It is claimed by the same journal for 1857, that the flowers of C. villosum continue in perfection equally long. It speaks of some as shown at the Fifth Grand Exposition at Ghent, the last of February, in a fresh and perfect state, which had expanded during the latter part of December.
The only other species I know of are as follows : —
C. macranthum, hardy, from Siberia; dark rich purple. I have seen it illustrated in Curtis's "Botanical Magazine." It has a sort of creeping root . C. Irapanum, yellow, from Mexico; resembles a gigantic C. pubescens, — our large yellow ladies'-slipper.
C. Cakeolus; European ; yellow. A friend in New Jersey writes me of this species as follows: "C. Cakeolus is found, not very far away from my native place, in a small group of mountains of basaltic formation, lying east of the Rhine, but entirely isolated between the Vosges and the Black Forest, — a group occupying about one and a half or two square miles, but cut off from the two other chains by level land, like the Snake Hill on the Newark Flats in New Jersey. In this group, C. Cakeolus is found, and has been for years, in uncounted numbers; but, outside of the northern slopes of these basaltic rocks, it is not found in three to four hundred miles all around."
There is a genus among the orchids, called Uropedium, which naturalists consider closely allied to, and even perhaps a monstrosity of, Cypripedium. It is found in Colombia; and as yet but one species has been described, — U. Lindeni. The flowers are produced two on a stem, white and green, with red lines, the petals being prolonged into tails eighteen inches or more in length. I have a plant of this very curious flower with one strong, healthy shoot, which I trust will blossom this spring.
The proper soil for all the exotic species of Cypripedia is turfy peat, or any fresh loam mixed with vegetable fibre. Most if not all of them will succeed under cool treatment; and being compact in habit, and easy of cultivation, may be grown by persons fond of orchids who have not much room, nor the convenience of a hot-house. There is certainly no more charming class of plants in the whole floral catalogue. They present great diversity of aspect, and unusual duration of bloom ; remaining in flower six or eight weeks, and even longer. None of the orchid race are so exempt from diseases, so free from the depredations of insects, as the Cypripedium.
Of the exotic species of the Cypripedium, only three are commonly found at the florists'; viz.: —
C. venustum, C. insigne, C. barbatum. »
They all are easily cultivated, and increase rapidly. But I have also other species and varieties, as follows: —
C. caudatum, C. caudatum roseum, C. Fairieanum, C. barbatum superbum, C. Veitchii, C. Hookera, C. Javanicum, C. Lowi, C. Schlimi, C. Stonei, C. villosum, C. Maulei, C. concolor, C. Dayanum, C. hirsutissimum, C. Bullenianum, C. Icevigatum, C. Pearcei.
The following are now in flower: —
C. insigne, C. venustum, C. barbatum, C. concolor, C. Bullenianum, C. villosum, C. Hookerm, C. Javanicum, C. barbatum superbum.
C. Fairieanum, having a flower of great elegance and grace, bloomed in December. It has narrow, short leaves, and a crisp, pretty habit.
C. Icevigatum is the latest discovered, the rarest of the genus, and is said to be the finest. But few plants of it have as yet been introduced into Europe. It was originally found in the Philippine Islands. At the International Horticultural Exhibition in London last summer, a plant in full bloom was exhibited, with four flowers to the raceme, and seven in all on the plant. It is said to throw spikes with five to seven flowers on each. It is of the Stoneiclass, but darker altogether, although, not so large; its great peculiarity and beauty being the long twisted tails, which are different from all others, but not so long as those of caudatum. C. Pearcei is a very pretty, distinct, and free-flowering species, lately brought out. It comes from Peru. Its foliage is long and very narrow, of a dark green, the leaves being less than half an inch in width. The flowers are produced several on a stem, and are of a light glossy green and white. It has short tails in the way of C. caudatum. It has been called, by some botanists, C. caricinum. C. villosum, from Borneo, has a very large flower, olive-brown in color, and so glossed as to seem literally varnished. My plant is very vigorous, some of the leaves being eighteen inches in length. It has four shoots, but only one flower-stem, the blossom of which is now fully expanded.
At the International Horticultural Exhibition in London last summer, a single noble plant of this species was shown with thirty perfect flowers. The flower-stem bristles with thick hairs, which are violet at the base, and white or whitish at the ends.
C. Schlimi, from New Grenada, is the most difficult of all to grow. My plant is eking out a miserable existence, and, I am confident, is afflicted with an incurable consumption. It wants to be kept wet and cold; for it belongs to a high range of country, and was found originally at an elevation of four thousand feet above the sea-level. It is crimson and white, and the prettiest of the family in color, though not so large as C. Stonei, which is similar in color, but not so brilliant. C. Schlimi, however, has not the showy tails which are a striking feature of C. Stonei.
C- Veitchii has a magnificent flower; perhaps the largest of the exotic species. Its leaves are boldly marbled with two shades of green, and are very striking. My plant bloomed finely last spring. Its synonymes are C. superbiens and C. barbatum grandiflorum. It is quite distinct, however, from all the barbata; is a lively brown in color, and not purple.
C. concolor is pale yellow, with small purple dots scattered over the sepals, petals, and lip. It has a very short stem, —just long enough to raise the flower above the foliage. It has two flowers on a stem. It has glaucous-green leaves, purple beneath, and covered with dark-green markings on the upper side, somewhat like C. venustum. It is a little plant, very close in habit, distinct from all the related species in having elliptical, blunt
petals. The flower is large for so small a plant, being nearly five inches in circumference. Both my plants have shown two flowers on each stem; but the second blossom develops later, and opens just as the first fails.
C. barbatum superbum is similar to C. barbatum, but larger and finer. Its leaves are, however, of a lighter green, and more distinctly marked. C. Javanicum is like C. barbatum superbum in every way. The only difference I can discover is, that there is less white in the upper sepal of C. yavanicum.
C. Mauki is a variety of C. insigne, but an improvement on it. The plant is smaller than the species, and has long, narrow leaves, and flowers two-thirds as large, with green and purple spots. C. Crossii is the name which has been attached by some botanist to a variety of C. barbatum, and under which it has been figured in a Belgian horticultural magazine.
C. Dayanum is very fine in foliage, its leaves being beautifully mottled with yellow and green. The flowers are in the same way as C. Vcitchii,
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