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method practised by me, for several years, to induce me to think that you alluded to a conversation I had with you on the subject a short time since. I have now written out my method, and accompanied it with some explanations. If you think the genuine reading of any importance, you are at liberty to give it a corner in your next number. A great objection to the use of unpainted zinc, marked with a lead pencil, one of the modes adopted by your correspondent, is the indistinctness of the writing, the color of the zinc and of the pencil mark being nearly the same.
Loudon, in his great work on Gardening, has enumerated many kinds of tallies used in England, no one of which combines, to so great a degree, those essential advantages, durability, convenience and economy, as the painted zinc. Even for mercantile purposes, I think this will prove the most convenient mode to nurserymen, and be highly useful to purchasers, most of whom, with the loss of the common wooden labels, soon lose the names of their fruit trees, about which they remain indifferent, till at length the different varieties begin to bear. Then curiosity is excited to identify the kinds. The greatest confusion follows. Serious mistakes are made and perpetuated. A large and dear experience is necessary, before the amateur can separate the wheat from the chaff, distinguish the genuine from the spurious, and at last arrive at even a tolerable degree of certainty in the nomenclature of fruits.
I send you a few tallies, as specimens of the various methods I have used, at different times, while seeking for something better than the “good old way.”
Cambridge, Nov. 21, 1846.
METHOD OF MAKİNG THE LABELS.*—Have ready a sheet of zinc, which must be perfectly clean. Take the purest white lead, ground in oil; thin it with spirits of turpentine, in place of oil; add mastic varnish (copal turns the paint yellow,) sufficient to make the composition adhere well to the zinc and give it hardness, but not in excess, which
* Any tinman will furnish strips of clean zinc, cut them into pieces of two square inches, after being painted, and punch them, at the rate of 25 cents per hundred. This would be cheaper than lo use whole sheets,
would render the surface too smooth. Apply the paint thin, with a common painter's brush; the newer it is the better. Let the paint dry, in a clear sun, a week at least, when another coat may be added. This should be suffered to remain a fortnight, if possible, in order to acquire greater hardness before being cut; otherwise the edges will be rough, paint being apt to peel from metallic surfaces when first applied.
The zinc may now be cut into pieces, two inches long by one wide, and punched at least half an inch from one end of each tally, in order to allow of some wear from the wire used to attach it to the tree. The best wire is made of copper. Narrow strips of sheet lead are sometimes used, but, besides being more clumsy, they are not stiff enough. Iron rusts away in a very short time, besides not being so tough as copper. No. 23 copper wire may be bought for 50 cents per pound, which will cut into 640 pieces of 8-inch lengths.
From the liability of the tallies to twist off a fine wire in high winds, this size is none too large. The French nurserymen mark their trees, when sent out of the nursery, with bits of lead a half inch square, having a number stamped on each, and for such mercantile purposes, find a much finer wire sufficient. But when it is desirable to write the name of the tree in full, which is generally the case when a tree is planted out, more surface is required, and of course a larger wire is necessary to prevent its being broken by the wind. It is a better way yet, to rest the tally against a twig, or, if the tree be small, and without convenient twigs, to bend the wire round the stem and tally together, for the first year, taking care to guard against rubbing on the written side. This will prevent the friction of the wire on the zinc, which is sometimes so great as to cause the tally to drop and be lost.
The best material for writing upon the tally, is a common black-lead pencil. It is not only the most convenient, but perfectly durable, time rendering the marks almost ineffaceable. If the pencil be tolerably hard, and cut to a fine point, you can write many things on a very small surface. Besides the name of the tree, other memoranda, as one may wish, may be noted at the time of planting, and afterwards, as in grafting anew, making experiments, &c. They may in this way be made to relate their own history to many generations,
and, though nature alone can give them “tongues," art can give them tallies, the inscriptions on which will often be more interesting to the amateur, (to his shame be it said,) than the
higher and more mysterious language of nature.
We are obliged to Mr. Owen for a communication of his mode of making zinc labels, which was the plan we had reference to in our remarks appended to the article of Mr. Phillips, (XII. p. 426.)
Accompanying the above, Mr. Owen sent us several specimens of the labels, an engraving of which we have annexed, (fig. 1.) showing the size and form. The specimens show the effect of the painting when properly or improperly mixed. One, with mastic in excess, does not take the pencil mark readily. Another, with copal in excess, takes it rather better, though quite indistinct, both having too glossy a surface; a third, painted one coat, in proper proportions, in August, written upon November 23, and exposed to the weather until December 10th, gives the pencil mark such permanence, that it can only be removed by the aid of sand. A fourth specimen shows the effect of wetting the surface of the label when the writing is made, which gives it a blacker and more
distinct mark. One label, written upon in Fig. 1. Zinc Lab el
for Trees. 1841, but twisted off by the gale of September last, has the mark as distinct as those that have not yet been exposed to the weather. To show how much may be written upon one label, we copy the following from one sent us by Mr. Owen, and occupying only a portion of one side. Beurré Diel. Planted Nov. 21, 1841; proved spurious. Grafted Aug. 13,
1842; bore in 1845. We have only one cautionary remark to make,--that is, that
in all tallies which are attached to trees with wires, especially when it is necessary to twist the wire, that it may prevent the label from rubbing, care should be taken that they are looked at, at least every spring, in order that they may not girdle the branch. We have had imported French trees, with the lead tags, mentioned by Mr. Owen, attached, which were badly girdled from inattention to this. It is also best to attach the label to a small lateral shoot, rather than the main trunk, or any of the principal branches, as a little neglect will not then be attended with so much injury.-Ed.
Art. V. A Comparative Notice of the Hog and Jerusalem
Artichokes, with a descriptive account of the growth, habit, and use of the former variety. By Dr. M. A. WARD, Athens, Ga.
Please to express my thanks to those of your correspondents who have so kindly criticised the error in my note on the Hog Artichoke, published in the July No. of your Magazine, (XII. p. 268.) They might, without departing very surprisingly from the usages of the times, have charged me with ignorance, stupidity, or even with some moral dereliction ; for, unhappily, a spirit of bitterness has of late been creeping into the discussions or controversies which are found in some of our Horticultural periodicals, that would seem more congenial to the arena of political gladiators, than to the garden, with its serene pursuits and researches, the tendency of which should be to excite emotions of admiration and benevolence, rather than of rancor and uncharitableness. My fault, and it has mortified me much,—was but “a slip of the pen,” at which I was myself as surprised as I was to see it in print at all;—for my note to you, written in the greatest haste, was intended merely to call your attention to the subject, without a thought of publication.
And now, while my pen is in the apologetical humor, I believe I may as well forestall future criticism, by begging pardon in advance, for another hasty act. It would certainly have been more safe, as well as modest, to have written the
words “distinct variety," instead of “distinct species of Heliánthus." I hope, too, that I have wounded the feelings of no one by an implied distrust in the ability of other botanists, to settle this little matter, by naming Drs. Torrey and Gray, as those with whose determination I should rest quietly satisfied; for it is well known that the characters of the species in most of the order Compositæ, especially in the large genera, are often obscure and puzzling,-requiring great practical skill and access to the most recent published descriptions and collections of dried specimens, to enable one satisfactorily to settle the name of a kind which he has never seen before.
My opinion, when given, was based principally on the difference in the form of the tubers ;—and it is, I believe, a received canon in Botanical nomenclature, that a difference in the structure of any of those parts from which the specific characters are taken,-provided it be constant, and propagated by seed, shall be regarded as a sufficient ground for bestowing a different specific name. It is true that I have not applied the test of raising them from the seed, but I have, for several seasons, grown the two kinds, side by side, in my garden, and note the following distinctions :
The tubers of the Jerusalem artichoke, (fig. 2) are commonly produced in a compact clump around the foot of the stalk, sel
Fig. 2. Outline of a tuber of the Jerusalem Artichoke of the natural size. dom spreading over an area of more than 12 or 18 inches in diameter, but often lying touching one another like eggs in a basket. Their general form approaches the globular, and in