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throughout our forests. The Cyprian bee, as its name indicates, is a native of Cyprus. The dorsal segmenis of the abdomen are a golden yellow. They are very irritable, easily angered by rough handling, and susceptible to the least excitement, nevertheless they are valuable as honey gatherers. The Italian bees (Ligurians) are natives of Italy. They have golden or leathercoloured segments on the three dorsal plates of the abdomen nearest the thorax. Those having the golden markings are chiefly met with in the southern parts of the peninsula, whilst the leather-coloured are inhabitants of the northern districts of the country. They are supposed to be a fixed strain of a cross between the German and the Cyprian bees. Both these varieties readily interbreed and their progeny are always reproductive. Since the Ligurian bee has become fashionable four and even five banded bees are to be met with. The Carniolian bees are natives of Carniola in Austria. The workers are somewhat larger than the common black bee, neither is the abdomen so pointed. They differ in colour in having a ring of silvery-hued hair on each dorsal plate. As honey gatherers they probably rank equally with the Italian bees, and the cross between the two varieties is said to be superior to that hetween the black and Italian.

The Tunic bee is sometimes named the Punic bee; they are ratives of the northern districts of Africa. They are not so valuable as either of the former as honey gatherers. The best working variety of A. mellifica is the pure Italian.

Apis dorsata, A. indica, A. trigona, A. florea, and A. mellifica are species of the genus A pis; but the German, the Cyprian, the Italian, and the Carniolian bees are only varieties of the species Mellifica. Species differ from varieties in that they do not readily interbreed, and where such intercourse takes place the progeny are hybrids or mules, and result in not being reproductive. A species is a conception subordinate to a genus with attributes extending to fewer individuals, whilst a variety is that which varies or differs from others of its kind.

The illustrations on the accompanying plate, from Root's work on Apiculture, represent :

1. Ligurian or Italian Queen.

Worker.
3. English Drone."
4. Worker,

Notes on the Advantages of Germinating Seed

Tubes.

By S. BOWLES,
Department of Mines and Agriculture.

The want of a cheap and effective protective shield for seedlings, also for germinating seeds when planted in the open ground, has often forced itself upon my attention.

In addition to the use of other articles which will readily occur to the minds of readers, bamboo tubes have largely been utilised for this purpose; but as these cost a good deal, are not always obtainable, and also require personal attention in removing when the plant has made headway, involving possible injury to the leaf growth, it has occurred to me that the adoption of a tube made from a material akin to papier maché would be more suitable for the purpose, especially as the cost would be merely nominal, and it would require no attention, as it would only remain sufficiently long to act as a minature bush-house or shelter cover until the plants were fairly established, when the action of the weather would dissolve the material, which has nothing deleterious in its substance, but, on the contrary, is altogether manurial to plant life. The tube would also prevent the ravages of birds, in preventing them from picking up the seed, ward off certain insect pests, make a sure breakwind, and ensure rapid germination,

It appears to me that by planting out the seeds of certain plants in this manner greater uniformity would be secured, with a corresponding economy in the matter of seed.

The plants could be properly spaced, with a certain prospect of the seed coming up. No thinning out would be necessary, thus saving seed and labour. Amongst other crops, beetroot might be grown in this way, but, of course, this remark would equally apply to most other plants, and to flowers, particularly when planted in light, friable soils.

The tubes should be about 4 inches in height, between 11 and 3 inches in diameter, and they should be inserted 13 inches in the soil. Tubes of greater diameter and height would be required to suit the kind of plant, but for most purposes the sizes I have mentioned would be suitable.

In the growing of celery, large tubes of a diameter suitable for the stalks would be necessary. They might conduce to the perfecting of the "blanching" process, a most important feature, and thus obviate to a great extent the necessity of moulding or earthing-up the soil, which entails considerable hand-labour.

In the midland counties of England, celery shows are common, and the pottery workers of Staffordshire, the miners of the “ black country," and other workmen of Lancashire and Derbyshire, vie with each other in growing celery for exhibition. I have been informed that heads of celery are often found to weigh from 5 to 7 pounds, while the blanching is perfect, in consequence of the stalks being enclosed by paper of a heavy texture instead of being earthed up. I am not prepared to say that celery could be treated in this way with profitable results, on account of the cost of large and heavy protecting covers, but perhaps some gardeners might try the experiment and note the result for the benefit of those who are engaged upon the tilling of the soil. My remarks upon the latter vegetable are suggestive.

I can vouch for the efficiency of the smaller tubes, and I understand they can be obtained in Sydney in quantities of not less than 1,000 at the rate of 128. 6d. per 1,000 upwards, according to the size that would be required.

Practical Vegetable and Flower Growing.

DIRECTIONS FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER.

Vegetables. Ar this season of the year the weather is generally dry and hot, and unfavourable for the growth of vegetables. But wherever water can be obtained in fair quantity some kinds of vegetables should be available. Even without much water, by means chiefly of good cultivation, it may be possible to grow something worth the cooking. As previously pointed out in gardening directions, the value of a mulch should not be overlooked, for on all farms there should be an abundance of coarse manure available. It is better to be rather coarse and lumpy, for then there is less chance of its being blown and scattered about by heavy, dry, wind storms.

Gardens near rivers or permanent creeks can be kept in good order by a little labour. Of course, it is difficult sometimes and tedious to lift a sufficiency of water, but a little ingenuity will save considerable labour. A small windlass, some fencing-wire, and a kerosene tin will be found of great assistance, on the steep bank of a river or creek, to raise water. Some spouting can be easily manufactured from any rough boards, slabs, or other material available. With a couple of blocks and the fencing-wire, horse labour could be made available if necessary

These are merely hints, given because the helplessness of some men in emergencies is only too apparent, and a vast deal of force is wasted on unnecessary work.

In districts where a good supply is generally available, a windmill will be found of immense value in pumping water.

Very often during December rains are frequent in districts near the sea coast, and most especially in the most northerly parts. It is a very difficult matter to keep down weeds, for their growth and luxuriance is surprising, and they very quickly ruin vegetables if allowed to grow. There is only one way to manage them properly, and that is to hoe them up whilst they are very young, although this is not always practicable, for rains will frequently prevent such work being carried out.

In the interior and dry districts frequent cultivation keeps the weeds in check. The advantages arising from deep cultivation, or rather the deep preparation of the land for garden crops, will be very apparent when the weather continues dry. But in addition to the deep digging the surface of the soil must be frequently stirred up so as to keep a mulch of soil or dust and thus prevent evaporation. However, the same result will follow if a heavy mulch of the droppings of farm animals be spread over the surface, say, from 4 to 6 inches in depth.

Endeavour to raise a few plants from seed from time to time such as cabbage, celery, and so on for planting out later on. The beds or boxes in

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