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feathery ferns, and trailing vines, with a few bright flowers, are used in profusion in decorating our houses. Ferns were never in such demand as at the present time.
FLOWERS FOR THE SCHOOL-Room.- We do not half appreciate the importance of bringing flowers into our schools. They are, many times, to the mind what exercise is to the body; a bright bouquet, a mound of fresh, green moss from the woods, or a healthy, blooming plant, will refresh the tired mind of the student, and enable him to renew the tedious lesson with new life and willing heart; will give to the weary teachers (God bless them) rest and comfort. We will take a short extract from a note written by a model teacher to a lady who occasionally sent her a bouquet. “One bouquet you sent me last winter, will ever be fresh in my memory. There was nothing cheerful in the school-room, not even a map; the school was large; some very large pupils to get along with, and thinking I had such a large school, made it harder. I went into school one day greatly discouraged; your daughter came and gave me a bouquet. I knew not what to say or how to thank her. It awakened my better self; the tears would flow. A day never passed after that, that I did not try to say something cheerful to them.” Who can say after reading this testimonial that flowers have no influence in the school-room?
A FLORAL SERVICE.—“There is in Old Gate, London, a rector who has for years past preached an annual flower sermon to the school children of his own and surrounding districts, The whole of the children sat in the body of the church, which was tastefully hung with garlands of choice flowers, while the adults occupied the galleries.” I can conceive of no service more inspiring or impressively beautiful than this one, where the modest violet from the wild wood mingles its perfume with that of the rare exotic, and the fragrance ascends as an offering to God in the highest; for truly “floral apostles” speak more loudly than man ever spoke, and point with unerring finger to God the Maker of heaven and earth, and to His wonderful works, and to the home eternal, where flowers never fade, and the perfume shall be “wafted upon angel's wings." Why should not we have a yearly floral service. June, with its wealth of roses and flowers, or July, when the white water lily comes forth in its beauty and purity, would be suitable months. Each member of the congregation, and Sabbath School, should be called up
THIRTY YEARS EXPERIENCE IN THE ORCHARD.
on to do a part. Let this be the children's day if you please. Let us gather the poor from the alleys and street corners and open our pews ungrudgingly to them upon this glad day, that they may feel that religion, for one day in the year, is free to all. Each child can bring flowers, ferns, or green vines, and as they are given in, they can be woven into garlands, or placed upon mounds, or put into vases or baskets, with but little trouble. Might not this make a lasting impression for good upon the young mind, as the pastor directs the hearts of all to nature, and to Nature's God?
“Bring flowers to the shrine, where we kneel in prayer.
They are Nature's offering—their place is there!
With a voice of promise they come and part;
They break forth in glory—bring flowers, bright flowers!”
THIRTY YEARS EXPERIENCE IN THE ORCHARD.
B. B. OLDS, CLINTON.
In reply to the inquiry by your Secretary as to the reason why my orchard was so productive the past season, while most of the orchards of the State yielded little or no fruit, I can only state the facts in the case, and give the observations and experience of over thirty years of fruit-culture in the State.
My location is upon rich, dry, prairie-land, somewhat rolling, black loamy soil, with clay sub-soil, and after three or four feet becoming mixed with gravel or resting upon limestone rock. In the spring of 1849, I planted an orchard of trees taken from the nursery of Mr. Bell, of Walworth county. Having had no opportunity for acquiring knowledge in fruit-raising, except what I had received in boyhood in my father's old orchard, mostly ungrafted, among the hills of Vermont, I consulted such works on fruit as I had access to, making up my collection of varieties, from those I knew to have borne a good reputation east, and others that bore a good description in fruit-books and nursery catalogues, without much thought of necessity of adaptation. Therefore while the Red Astrachan, Fameuse, Golden Russet, Tolman Sweet, and some
others grew right along and came into bearing, the Spitzenburgs and Rhode Island Greenings, with several other kinds, soon began to show they were out of their latitude, and gradually retired from the contest. In 1851, I enlarged my orchard with the same and other kinds, making about six acres in orchard; and having an opportunity of getting a few thousand seedling stocks, started in the nursery business on a small scale, from which I planted into the orchard, mostly at two years old, set two rods each way, till I had twenty-five acres. In transplanting from the nursery, was always careful to take none but thrifty trees, and to get as much root as possible, never allowing the roots to be exposed to the sun or drying winds; was also careful to give the roots their natural position, covering them with good mellow soil, and finishing by mulching heavily two or three feet around the tree. Consequently, instead of making out barely to live, they made a good growth the first year, and so onward to bearing age. During this early growth of the orchard, the land was kept in a good state of cultivation, alternately in hoed crops and small grain, manuring moderately, and mulching freely. As the trees became large and came into bearing, I have practiced seeding to clover every three or four years, only letting it remain one year without plowing, but never seeding to timothy. In setting out the orchard, I cut away all the branches I thought would not be needed to form a good head, and continued thus to cut out from year to year, so there is never occasion to slash away in cutting large branches, which I consider very injurious and often a fatal practice. On this one point, neglect of pruning in proper season, allowing the top to fill with a superabundance of branches, and perhaps suckers to surround the trunk, and then slashing off some of the main lower branches leaving the top unthinned, I believe is the cause of failure among the common, careless farmers or non-fruit-growers.
My trees were generally quite large before bearing, but, since coming to bearing, have not failed to give a partial to fair crop, with few exceptions. Some four years since, my youngest orchard, haviug a southwestern aspect, was attacked by the canker-worm, and while under treatment for their destruction, furnished no fruit. In 1874 it gave a good crop, while my older orchard,, with a northwestern aspect, gave very little, as was very common in that season in many parts of the State. This last season the old orchard
THIRTY YEARS EXPERIENCE IN THE ORCHARD.
gave about half a crop, while the one that had been infested with the canker-worm took a rest. A large orchard, two miles from me, bore heavily that had been literally filled with the canker-worm for several years previously.
Now I wish to speak of an orchard of five acres, planted, I think, in 1858, by a neighbor, in close proximity to mine, which I came in possession of six years ago. The aspect is a very slight inclination to the north. The planter had been a very careful observer for years of others successes as well as failures and therefore, as was his privilege, improved upon them.
First, he put the ground in a high state of cultivation; then, with a carefully selected list of the best kinds, procured the most thrifty young trees he could find, mostly two or three years old, handling them with the utmost care, and continuing the same care in cultivation and pruning till they came to bearing, as the result of which the trees made a rapid and healthy growth, and yielded a fair to a large crop regularly, not excepting the last year. With this experience and observations made, I am led to the conclusion that we need not despair, but may reasonably hope that, with determined perseverance in the right direction, we inay not only have plenty of good fruit for home-use, but probably become equal to any of our sister States in making apple-raising a leading and profitable business in favorable locations.
A few words more as to future projects. I have become so much in favor of planting young trees that I intend to put out an orchard of 500 trees next spring of yearling trees. Have also a plan for building a fruit-house, constructed so as to regulate the temperature at will during the warm fall weather, as well as the cold winter, as I believe no common cellar is weli adapted to the keeping of fruit.
OUR WINDOW PLANTS.
MRS. I. H. WILLIAMS, MADISON.
-God Almighty first planted a garden;
In these enlightened days, when the broad wave of gentle culture is spreading far and wide, it is rare to find a house, be it high or lowly, where one or more windows are not devoted to the growing of plants. In this climate, where stern winter reigns supreme almost nine months of the twelve, we must resort to window gardening, or our enjoyment in plants would be very limited. One often hears the remark, “How much more difficult it is to raise house plants now than it was in the days of our grandmothers.” The opportunities for improving one's culture of such was not, then, what it now is, with our many papers and magazines to teach us the way. Why is it? I think the variety of plants must have been of a more hardy nature than we would be content with. Oldfashioned Roses, Stocks, Wall-Flowers, China Pinks, and such, filled their windows. Their houses were not, as those, of to-day, almost hermetically sealed; the light of wax-candles, or sperm-oil gave forth no gas. The living-room was where the tea-kettle was ever on the hub, and the escaping steam preserved the moist atmosphere, that bids defiance to the troublesome red spider. The windows were not darkened by heavy drapery, and the sunlight was freely admitted, even though, by so doing, the carpet lost much of its brightness. So they had many of the needed requisites to produce fine plants and luxuriance of blossom, namely, light, sun, air, heat, and to this add freedom from insects and dust. We have all seen the slender, pale, sickly attempt of growth grown in a dimly lighted cellar, if only in sprouting of potatoes, proving the great need of plenty of light for healthy plants. There are many varieties that will thrive only in a shaded position, but none that will do well if denied strong light.