Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/699

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681
LITERARY NOTICES.

a natural accompaniment of vacation-trips, the author says:

When we meet them in their full beauty they are in the most unfavorable state for transplanting, as, in the vigor of its growing condition in its natural home, a fern will endure little rough handling, and requires tender care to persuade it to grow in any other place. It would be better to wait till the season's activity is passed, which it is probable we can not do; or collect our ferns in the early spring, before the croziers unroll; but when the plants are in this condition, only an experienced botanizer knows what to look for and where to find it. Suppose, then, that in July or August we wish to obtain a small collection of our native ferns in their living state. The best way of transporting them is, of course, with their fronds uncrushed, in a box or basket of sufficient size. But this is not always practicable. It may be necessary to condense them into the smallest possible space. As we collect them the ferns can be kept in a bowl or basket till we are preparing for our journey home. When we gather them the roots should be carefully dug up, not wrenched from their surroundings; and, when we begin to get them ready for their travels, should not be very wet. Suffer the plants to remain without water a day or two before packing, only do not allow them to become exactly dry. Then we may shake off as much of the earth as will readily fall away, and, wrapping each fern with a bit of damp (not wet) moss, roll it up in a bit of paper large enough to hold all together, tying the parcel with a thread. The fronds should all project beyond the moss and paper, and only enough of them be left to insure a healthy start the next season—three or four on an ordinary and six on a very large plant. To remember bow the ferns looked (for we are not yet supposed to know their names), it is a good plan to press a frond of each, and number it, tying a tag with the corresponding number to the specimen itself. When this is done, all the packages should be arranged with the fronds lying in the same direction, and a number of fresh fronds should be collected and tied around the fronds of the ferns to be carried home. Then the whole may be rolled up firmly into a bundle, covered with several thicknesses of stout manila paper and tied securely. The package is now ready to place in a trunk to deliver to the expressman or carry under the arm. Unless it is exposed to the sun, or in a very dry place, this bundle will not suffer in vitality or health for two or three weeks. At the journey's end the ferns must be carefully unwrapped and firmly planted in a good light soil, whether out of doors or in the fernery. At first nearly all the fronds will lie quite prostrate on the ground, but if they are frequently sprinkled on both sides and their roots kept only damp, the plants will establish themselves and reward the pains bestowed upon them by a fine healthy growth the next season.

The volume contains six colored illustrations of interesting species, and numerous plates illustrative of the growth and culture of ferns. A very tempting frontispiece shows the fern-corner of the writer's greenhouse. There is an important chapter concerning soils and pots for ferns, with pictures of pots of several different forms: one upon fern-cases, another with lists of ferns suitable for cultivation in tropical and temperate houses and in fern-cases. Fern-pests are also discussed, and pictures of nine of these creatures are given in plate 22. But further details are needless; the book teems with useful instruction from beginning to end.

Sanitary Examinations of Water, Air, and Food. A Handbook for the Medical Officer of Health. With Illustrations. By Cornelius B. Fox, M. D., M. R. C. P., London, Medical Officer of Health of East, Central, and South Essex; Fellow of the Chemical Society, etc., etc. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1878. Price, $4.

This volume appears in response to a demand, by the scientific world, and especially of those engaged in the public-health service, for a third edition of the brochure on "Water Analysis." The author has rewritten nearly all he had before published upon the subject, and now offers the results of an increased and extended experience. He has also incorporated with his essay on "Water Analysis," sections on "Examinations of Air and Food." His aim is to furnish hints and suggestions, helpful to those who have not, like himself, "plodded for years through tortuous paths, at the sacrifice of much time and labor." In preparing the book, two objects were kept steadily in view: "1. To avoid a consideration of these three subjects, solely after the manner of an analyst, who mechanically deals with chemical operations and arithmetical calculations, but to treat them as a physician who studies them in connection with health and disease; 2. To render such details respecting examinations of water, air, and food, as fall within the province of the medical officer of health, so free from technicalities, and all cloudy and chaotic surroundings, as to enable any one, who possesses the average chemical knowledge of a physician, to teach himself, by the aid of this vade mecum of the health officer."