the second, all of them; and the third, from two to four dozen each tree, and which were of the most delicate and perfect colour and flavour.

Although nurserymen are always ready to furnish trees of any name that may be asked for, I have never been able to obtain any so described, as to be generally acknowledged by gardeners. I shall therefore not attempt the recommendation of any particular sorts; but one remark made to me by a gentleman, who grew fruit in greater perfection in the house than any other I ever met with, appearing to me to be well founded, I shall state it, viz. that those sorts of the peach and nectarine, which are furnished with blossoms of short and small petals, are more prolific than those which produce long and broad petals.





The usual mode of cultivating the pine apple, in every way that it can be contemplated by a mind accustomed to the study of nature, must appear imperfect: the success that has attended its growth, under the varied and extraordinary treatment it has been subjected to, shows it to be a plant more tenacious of life, and more patient of injury, than almost any other; but notwithstanding the uncommon powers of endurance with which this plant is evidently endowed, it must be subservient to the three grand principles which govern and determine the progress through life of all animals and vegetables, viz. food, climate, and lodging, and a due application and supply of these must be requisite to enable it to attain perfection.

By a recent publication entitled “The different Modes of cultivating the Pine Apple, by a Member, of the Horticultural Society of London,” it appears that Mr. Knight has made some important experiments on this subject; and although the

expectations of this compiler, as to the success of his mode of proceeding, are obviously not very sanguine, he strongly corroborates Mr. Knight's opinion, that the old method of growing the pine apple is far from being perfect.

The observations of Mr, Knight support the natural conclusion, that excess of bottom heat must be injurious to the growth and production of the pine apple ; and he has very judiciously placed this plant in a situation and under circumstances to prove the effect of the other extreme, and unless the two extremes are ascertained, a medium cannot be fixed.

Mr. Knight expresses himself to be much inclined to agree with Mr. Kent,” that the bark bed is “ worse than useless," and in pursuing this idea, it appears he has made some important demonstrations; he has shown that the pine apple may be grown without a bark or any other hot bed, and that it will endure a temperature as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit; he also seems to have established the fact, that the pine apple, like all other plants, exhibits a greater degree of health, under the natural difference in the temperature of the atmosphere, as it exists between day and night, than under the unnatural continuance of the same degree of heat.

Alluding to Mr. Knight's opinion and experiments, it is remarked by the compiler of the before mentioned work, “that the pine apple will grow without what is technically called bottom heat, is an obvious truth, since no plant in a state of nature

is found growing in a soil warmer than the superincumbent atmosphere ; but to imitate nature is not always the best mode of culture, for the more correct the imitation, the less valuable would be the greater part of her products, at least as far as horticulture is concerned. What would our celery, cabbage, and apples be, if this culture were copied from nature ?" This appears to be a singular kind of argument to prove Mr. Knight to be wrong. What other means but those prescribed by the laws of nature could ever have enabled us to improve our cabbages, celery, and apples? Does not nature show her mode of producing luxuriance in plants, to be that of preparing by decomposition, and furnishing a luxuriant supply of food, and of adapting peculiar plants to peculiar soils and climates ? And has she not spontaneously determined the effect of a select, as well as that of a promiscuous intercourse of the sexes ?

The result of my experience and observation leads me to conclude, that a strict attention to, and support of, the laws of nature, have effected every improvement in vegetables of which we may have to boast, and that this alone can enable us to make any further improvements. The principles of nature cannot be improved; but it is a law of nature, that, to a certain extent, exuberance shall beget exuberance, and by availing ourselves of this, and encouraging and protecting certain habits and propensities, and preventing and removing obstructions and casual injuries, we may make plants more

conducive to our pleasures. Cultivation would otherwise be an useless term : by establishing and administering to certain causes, we may accelerate and produce certain effects ; but such causes are original or pre-existing, and consist of certain primitive principles or laws of nature; and effects are produced by the operation of those laws either simply or combined. Mankind possess not the power of altering such laws, or of making new ones : they are only permitted a certain influence in supporting, combining, applying, arranging, directing, or di. verting them to peculiar objects.

In regard to bottom heat, although it can scarcely be supposed that in any case in the state of nature plants can be found growing in a soil exceeding the heat of the atmosphere so many degrees as they are made to do in the general mode of cultivating the pine apple, yet it often must exceed it considerably in a tropical climate, and so much, that were it not for the regulating medium of evaporation, the heat in such situations would be insupportable to vegetables ; pines therefore raised and grown without bottom heat can scarcely be expected to produce their fruit in perfection. The principal difference in the practice and opinions, or in the skill of the growers of the pine apple, appears to be in the mode of forcing and checking its growth, and in the acuteness of their observation of the different indications of excess. Any method, therefore, that can be adopted to simplify or reduce the management of this part of the process to a

« ForrigeFortsett »