Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/821

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The Cambridge Botanic Garden and the Arnold Arboretum, adjoining the Bussy Institute, being well organized and both managed under the auspices of Harvard College, would be perhaps the best repository of reports on the relative hardiness of plants.

The proper sources of these reports would be botanic gardens such as those of Washington and Cambridge, and parks such as those of New York and Philadelphia, the superintendents and gardeners of which might be directed to make careful investigations and fill up printed forms month by month on the behavior of plants in different localities. Above all, private individuals—and they need not be trained observers—all over the country should be encouraged to investigate in the same systematic way and report to the central repository. Consider how valuable such records of actual hardiness would be, coming from interested observers everywhere, if the resultant tables were published in a compact form! The perplexing question of the behavior of rhododendrons, for instance, would probably be explained, whereas twenty-five years of unsystematic observation has been very barren of results.

It may not be out of place in conclusion to say a word concerning the so-called acclimatization of plants. The name seems to imply the use of some peculiar treatment whereby a half-hardy plant is made hardy. There are many people who really fancy that tender plants may be rendered hardy by first protecting them carefully and then exposing them more and more by degrees until they are taught to endure a manifestly greater amount of cold than they did at first. Natural selection carried on for hundreds and thousands of years may accomplish a change of nature of this sort, but, under ordinary limitations of time, the attempt to acclimatize, in this sense, is practically futile.


To enjoy life, one must be in good health; and to remain free from disease is the desire of all. Yet there are some ailments which do not interfere very much with the pleasures of life, and therefore are not dreaded in consequence—nay, more, they are frequently treated with neglect, although in many instances they are the precursors of more serious disorders, which may in not a few cases have a fatal termination! How often, to the usual greetings which one friend exchanges with another, is the reply given, "Very well, thank you, except a little cold." A little cold, and yet how significant this may be! In how many cases do we find a "little cold" resemble a little seed, which may sooner or later develop into a mighty tree! A little

vol. xviii.—51