Some years ago I was anxious to grow some Florist Auriculas, but I must frankly own we were never very successful. They took too much frame-room and wanted too much care; but for anyone who likes to grow special flowers in a small space I cannot imagine anything more interesting than Auricula growing. The following directions were written out for me by a most successful Auricula grower, and they may prove very useful to some few people who are fond of these flowers:

'The fancy or Florist's Auricula is divided into green edges, gray edges, white edges, and selfs. These flowers should be grown in pots. One of the most famous growers (and a man of high class, although his station is only that of a Sheffield workman) is Ben Simonite. According to him a compost of two parts fibrous loam, one part old hot-bed manure, one part old leaf-mould, with sufficient charcoal the size of split peas to keep the soil open, is suitable. This should be put together in the autumn, and turned over frequently during the winter. The right time for re-potting is after the bloom is over; at this moment (early in April) my earliest plants are in bloom. When potted, the plants require occasional watering, but freedom from drenching rains. If by chance over-much watered, time should be allowed for this excess to pass away, and the plants not watered again until quite dry, although not flagging. Little else is needed, save to remove decaying foliage and keep down the aphis or green fly. All the summer and until November the plants may remain in the open air, save when they are protected from heavy rains. Early in November they go into a cold frame, but ventilated by day whenever the weather is at all fine. Water should be given seldom, but sufficiently when given at all. Great dryness will be endured without damage, but there is a point which must not be overpassed. Towards the end of January life revives, and water is more needful. Prior to this, if it be possible, the pots should be so placed as to receive what light there is, which accelerates the resumption of growth. About the middle of February, if the growth is evidently progressing, the plant should be top-dressed with compost, rather stronger than that used in planting - so fully that side-shoots may be able to root into the top-dressing. On these offsets depend the reproduction of named kinds. From seed new varieties may be raised, but the offspring are often very unlike the parents. In March the flower-stems begin to rise, and during April the plants flower. In this month the annual exhibition at the Kensington Horticultural takes place. It is important to protect the plants in severe weather by means of matting, also against cutting winds; but they are hardy, and their great risk is not cold, but rotting through excessive moisture, which, affecting the foliage, attacks the neck of the plant if decaying leaves be not picked off.'

Alpine Auriculas are easily grown from seed, and require much less care (see 'English Flower Garden').

I am often asked what my vegetable-seed bill amounts to. The fact is, I never know. Seeds are so cheap that I get what I want. Where the waste comes in is in sowing them in too large quantities at one time, instead of in succession, not thinning out, etc. It is always worth while to sow all useful vegetables several times over, whether in spring or summer.

The ordinary amateur feels the extreme difficulty of growing flower-seeds either in boxes or even out of doors, and says that in the end it is decidedly cheaper to buy plants. This is, of course, true of all the strong-growing herbaceous things. But every gardener soon finds that if you want any quantity of one thing, or if the plant is not particularly suited to the soil, it is infinitely better to grow the plants from seed than to buy one or two specimens which constantly die. I would always advise beginners to try sowing seeds in little squares in the seed bed. It is only by this process that they can learn what does well from seed and what does not. Seed beds in April should be in different aspects - some cool and damp, and some dry and sunny, according to the nature of the plant sown and the country it comes from - and left, only weeded, for one or two years. I am quite sure no garden will ever look full and varied all the year round without a great number of plants being grown from seed. It is a later stage of gardening, that is all, just as collecting and saving your own seed is a later stage still.

I saw the other day in a Suffolk newspaper some observations on seed-sowing under glass. They seemed to me so useful just at this time of year that I copied part of the article: 'sowing seeds may to the superficial observer seem a simple affair; yet it is one of the most important operations in gardening. There is a great difference even amongst gardeners in raising plants from seed. One may succeed with all kinds of seeds, providing the seed is good; whereas another gardener will have the greatest difficulty even in getting ordinary seeds to germinate. Of course, the kind of seeds I mean are choice greenhouse, stove, or Alpine. My experience teaches me that a great many failures are the result of sowing the seed too early in the year. The particular seeds I mean are those sown early in spring, either of plants for conservatory decoration or to bloom in flower beds and borders during the coming summer. Take, for example those charming greenhouse flowers the Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus). Sow this seed in January, and the greatest difficulty is experienced in getting it to germinate; but if sown in April, it will germinate as easily as Lobelia. But perhaps giving choice seeds daily - nay, I might almost say hourly - attention is the most important point of all. The seed may be sown at the proper time and be placed in a suitable place; the soil may be everything to be desired; in fact, everything used - pots, pans, boxes, and drainage - may be all right, yet if they do not receive proper attention for days, weeks, and months before the seed grows, and after as the case may be, failure will surely follow such neglect. This attention means keeping the compost in that happy condition which is neither wet nor yet too dry.'