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which we could grow to perfection on our railway embankments and waste ground.
Leaving the orchards-which, however, we would have extensively multiplied-and coming to the cottage-garden, we find the plot which should count for so much in the economics of a lowly family, probably a bit of badly-tilled, sour, scantily-manured ground, containing perhaps a large apple or pear-tree which more than half-overshadows it, a few straggling gooseberries and currants, and a bed of leeks and cabbages. Very little is thought of it, no care is taken of it; and if you ask the owner or his wife why they do not improve their garden, they tell you, "Tis good enough for the likes of we," and that is all you can get out of them, although very likely at the same time the cottage window will be filled with flourishing plants, proving by their fine bloom that ample care has been taken of them. The British rustic is, as every one knows, indolent and hard to move, wedded to old customs, unthrifty, and utterly impervious to any argument save the potent one of pounds, shillings and pence. Prove to him that the better cultivation of his garden will result in profit and he will turn his attention to the task; but the only way to reach him is by example, for notwithstanding the improvement in our poor schools, reading is still to him a labor, and his books are few. Let him see that inexpensive bush apple and pear-trees, which may alternate with vegetables, and will not overshadow his garden, will give him a capital crop; let him find out that their produce will have a money value, and that there is no mystery in the matter, beyond the industry and attention needful to grow certain things in his small way just as well as the squire can do it with his two or three gardeners—and the aspect of matters will soon be changed; for our friend the cottager has a capital eye for the main chance, and no one knows better than he the worth of a shilling. The rivalry, too, which would soon spring up between neighbors would still farther advance the matter.
There is an argument in favor of a vigorous reform in our gardening which should come home to every one, and that is the enormous price we have to pay for dessert fruit and table decoration, twenty pounds for this one item of a dinner-party being not at all a remarkable expenditure for fruit, the greater part of which is imported. It may be urged that the sunny skies of France and the Channel Islands produce better pears, peaches, and nectarines than our own more cloudy ones. But to this we reply that large orchard houses, and other kinds of shelter, which may be very cheaply constructed, would enable us to vie with our neighbors, if not to surpass them; the one thing needed in the case of the hardier fruits, being protection from early frosts, while for the more tender ones, artificial heat can be provided, and it is needless to remind the reader that our hot-house grapes are of far better flavor than those grown in vineyards in warmer countries, or that English strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and currants are much superior to any others.
It is of course impossible to afford protection to orchards; they must
run their chance, the profits of a good year making up for the deficien-' cies of a bad one. But if we grew our dessert apples and pears on bushes and pyramids, the slightest protection, mere rude awnings of tiffany would be enough to ward off all danger, to say nothing of the power we possess, by lifting and root-pruning, of rendering small trees increasingly prolific. Again, by judicious plant education, and careful selection of stocks, scions, and seedlings, we have it in our power to accelerate or retard their bearing; and may thus produce varieties of orchard trees which would not bloom until all danger from frost was over, in that way securing more abundant and regular fruit harvests. In fact there are a thousand ways in which our fruit.production might be improved and extended, and there is profitable employment in the doing of it for thousands of hands, a consideration surely of immense importance when viewed in regard to the distress amongst our agricultural population and the numbers of operatives in need of work.
One great bar to the increase of fruit culture amongst us at present, besides the lack of capital, is the want of technical knowledge in those who would perhaps desire to carry on that branch of industry, and this technical knowledge is a vital necessity. Unless, therefore, some means be found of providing it, gardening will never advance beyond its present status. In France and Switzerland gardening is a regular part of elementary education, in fact in the former country it has been made a sine qua non that the schoolmaster shall be able to give practical instruction in the art. Why should we remain behind other countries In this respect?
In the neighborhood of our village schools it would rarely be difficult to obtain a piece of garden ground; and even in our large towns one or two schools at least are usually so situated as to render the addition of a garden by no means impracticable; while in most workhouses the same possibility exists. The employment of the children in the open air would benefit them immensely in point of health, and at the same time prove remunerative if the work were carried out in an efficient manner, nor does there seem to be any reason why the girls should not take part in the occupation.
Margaret Howitt, in her Twelve Months with Frederika Bremer in Sweden, tells us that " some of the hardy Dalecarlian peasant women engage themselves as gardeners at gentlemen's houses, undertaking the entire charge of digging, planting, rolling, &c., and when they have in this way, by care and industry, saved a little sum of money, they return to the Dales, and not unfrequently again make their appearance in their old scenes with a husband." The example of these enterprising northern damsels would not be a bad one for many of our country lasses, who might undoubtedly make a good thing of it, particularly if they were enabled by means of previous training to do their work intelligently, for we often see women of the lower class endowed with a natural taste for gardening, and particularly with a love of flowers. The article in Social Notes, to which we have before alluded, proposes
the establishment of a horticultural college for women, in which the students should be of several classes on a quasi-commercial basis, the college to become self-supporting, partly by means of the fees paid by students, and partly by the sale of the fruit, vegetables, flowers, and decorative plants which would be grown at the institution. In such a college the pupils would be required to pass examinations in the various branches, with a view to gaining certificates and diplomas, and theoretical and practical teaching would go hand in hand. The sug gestion is a bold one, but not perhaps impracticable. We, however, require to be educated up to the idea.
If women would turn their attention to the subject, and recognise the field that lies before them, they might do much in the matter themselves. Once qualified for it we can quite imagine a lady professor of horticulture succeeding admirably. In the department of landscapegardening, for instance, she might become another "Capability Brown,' laying out grounds and superintending their plantation, planning horticultural structures, &c.; or, as a specialist, she might attain to eminence in some of the many distinct lines of flower and fruit production. In the colonies there must be a multitude of openings in these direc tions, large landed proprietors in Australia and elsewhere indulging in ornamental gardening and fruit culture to an extent of which we in England have but little idea.
But without leaving her own country the lady gardener may find ample employment for her energies. In his little volume on horticulture in the "British Industries" series, Mr. Burbidge gives us a most interesting account of the immense suburban "plant factories" which furnish the markets at every season of the year with the loveliest grow
ing plants and cut flowers. Such establishments are usually devoted to the production of at most two or three different kinds, the system of culture being reduced to a regular routine, and the practice so successful that even large nurserymen are said to find it more advantageous to purchase plants from these specialists than to grow them for themselves. Mr. Beckwith, for example, sends to market yearly from 80,000 to 90,000 pelargoniums, and zonals in proportion, and forces between 60,000 and 70,000 hyacinths. Another grower, Mr. Reeves, imports as many as 160,000 tulip-bulbs every year, while whole houses are separately devoted to double-white primulas, poinsettias, begonias, fuchsias, and cinerarias. Mignonette, heliotropes, hydrangeas, asters and white arum lilies are the specialities of other growers, while others again devote themselves to producing cut flowers. Then there are the rare tropical orchids, palms, ferns, and fine foliaged plants, exceptional specimens of which frequently realize even at public auctions, almost fabulous prices. Not to mention the Phalaenopsis grandiflora, sold to the Duke of Devonshire for a hundred guineas, and the Dendro. bium, which gained a like sum from Lord Londesborough, large numbers of orchids have been purchased at public sales at prices varying from 10% to 50%., such purchases being usually made by nurserymen for L M'2-9
the purpose of selling them again, while the continuous steady demand for new varieties causes vast sums so be spent in paying collectors to procure them from the ends of the earth.
These facts sufficiently prove that the production of beautiful plants is a lucrative industry, and one in which there is room for competition. Indeed at the present moment it probably pays better than the growth of fruit and vegetables, although he latter branch of gardening, ministering as it does to a necessity, is more to be depended upon in the long run, and in itself capable of considerable development, since the taste for fruit seems to be rapidly extending even amongst the lower classes, and the demand for it to be increasing materially almost every year.
The growth of flowers for perfume, and the production of seeds, are also profitable branches of commercial gardening, and branches in which far less capital is required than is needed for decorative plant-culture. In this country, however, only a few kinds of flowers can be successfully grown for distillation, but the seed question is one of great importance on account of the extensive adulteration which still prevails -the high prices paid for seeds, especially those of new varieties, holding out a strong temptation to the dishonest trader.
We see, then, that there is abundant room for more horticulturists, and we hope that we have not altogether failed in carrying the reader with us in our conviction. Let it be once widely felt that the "gardening question" is a national one, and its adoption into the State system of education is sure to follow. Systematic instruction might then be provided without difficulty by employing some of the existing machinery; and perhaps even the "National Garden," recommended by Mr. Burbidge, might become a fact. If it does, we would suggest that there should be attached to it an efficient school of horticulture open to persons of both sexes, where serious studies of a theoretical kind might be carried on in conjunction with thorough practical training in every department.
J. CHESNEY, in Macmillan's Magazine.
THE FUTURE ur' CHINA.
THE late reconquest by China of some of her former possessions in Central Asia, and the firm tone in which she is urging her demands upon Russia, in respect of the Kuldja territory, are giving her a prominence as a factor in Asiatic politics which she can scarcely be said to have claimed before. These signs of tenacity of purpose, if not of actual vitality, acquire an additional interest when viewed in connection with the recently modified policy of her Government towards Western States; a policy which, whether induced by an honest intention to forego the traditional exclusiveness of past ages, or by a shrewd determination to cope, if possible, with more advanced nations upon the advantageous footing secured by the cultivation of the progresive Arts and Sciences, has had the effect of bringing China into diplomatic relations with the principal Powers of Europe and America, and introducing her as a recognized element into the political calculations of the civilized world. The issue of the Kuldja controversy has a special interest for England, as the mistress of adjacent territory in India; but a far greater importance attaches to the result of the larger efforts which China is making to take up a position amongst the nations, and upon the success of which all her political future must depend. It is of that future, and of its bearing upon the interests of China's two great rivals in Asiatic dominion, Russia and Great Britain, that this paper proposes to treat.
It cannot be predicted of the Government of China, at any rate at present, that it is greedy of territory. On the contrary, its responsibilities are already as serious as it must feel at all competent to fulfil with credit to itself and satisfaction to its people. But, on the other hand, it is remarkably tenacious of parting with a single rood of ground, to which it may claim the right of traditional possession or more recent conquest. When portions of its territory have been torn from its grasp by successful rebellion, it has for the moment yielded to the inevitable. But the earliest opportunity possible has been seized for reentering upon possession, either by force or craft. The late recovery
of the province of Yunnan in China proper, and of Chinese Turkestan in Central Asia, after crushing defeats and years of alienation, affords notable instances of this tenacity of purpose. But such successful reentries upon lost dominion have only been effected where the usurping power has partaken of the same or a similar Asiatic character with that of the Chinese themselves. Where circumstances have brought the Government into collision with the more energetic and enterprising people of the West, it has had no alternative but to make material con