I have been lately to some of my Suffolk friends, in whose gardens I always learn so much. In a bowl of mixed flowers in my room I quickly detected a flower I did not know, a pale lavender double-Daisy-shaped ball, many on a branch, and yet not crowded or thick. This turned out to be double Cineraria, grown from seed sent out by Veitch. I can see the horror of many of my good-colour loving, bad-colour hating friends, who dislike the ordinary finely-grown gardener's Cinerarias as much as I do. These double ones have the advantage of doing exceedingly well picked, and are one of the few plants which I really think are prettier double than single, though I afterwards saw that some of the plants were very crude and hard in colour.

Dimorphotheca eclonis is a very pretty-growing, long-flowering pot-plant from Africa. It is of the same family as Calendula (Marigold), and very like Calendula pluvialis, figured in Maund's 'Botanic Garden,' that never-to-be-toomuch-praised book. The whole family of Calendulas close on dull damp days. Maund says of these plants: 'The Latin pluvialis, which pertains to rain, is used in reference to the influence which rain or dew has on the opening and closing of the blossoms of our present subject. All flowers, we believe, which close in rainy or cloudy weather have the property of closing at night. The same object, protection from moisture, is attained in each instance. This peculiarity is prettily alluded to in the following lines, which I copy from Dr. Withering's arrangement:

The flower enamoured of the sun, At his departure hangs her head and weeps, And shrouds her sweetness up, and keeps

Sad vigils, like a cloistered nun, Till his reviving ray appears, Waking her beauty as he dries her tears.'

The seed of this Calendula pluvialis may be sown in the open ground in April.

I have never seen Messrs. Backhouse's gardens at York; but so far as I can judge, from seeing various rock gardens they have made and planted, no one is half so good as they are for all Alpines. They have so improved the actual plants that they are scarcely to be recognised as the same which grow in their mountain homes. Many will say: 'What a pity!' But that applies to all rock-gardening. If one tries to grow Alpines, one wants them to be strong and to live. Saxifraga oppositifolia is, for instance, really like what Mr. Backhouse describes in his catalogues and David Wooster illustrated in his book on Alpine plants. Saxifraga sancta blooms in profusion as early as this, and is a bright pale yellow. All these plants require either to be divided or else to have some handfuls of light earth thrown over them after flowering. Saxifraga burseriana is also very early, and has a pretty flower.

But all these plants cost money, as they make no effect except in large clumps; and, to do well, I fear they want stiff moist soils.

Those who live near the coast may be interested to hear of an experiment which I saw being tried for growing Asparagus in a wild state on the sandy shore of Suffolk. The gardener wrote me the following description of what he had done:

'In the spring of 1896 some yearling Asparagus plants were planted on the lower portions of some raised banks close to the sea. There was no attempt at preparing the ground; it was not even properly cleared of weeds, or sufficient care exercised to plant the plants far enough apart to give them growing-room. But the result far exceeds what might have been expected from such rough-and-ready treatment, for one can almost say they have grown wild. As regards the soil of which these banks are composed, the only remark one can make is that it is of a very questionable character, although of three classes: No. 1, pure fine drift-sand; No. 2, drift-sand crag and river-mud mixed; No. 3, river-mud. The plants in No. 2 mixture have given the best produce, No. 3 river-mud being very close; whilst the produce of No. 1, from the fine drift-sand, is very poor. There has been no attempt to give cultural aids in the way of manure up to the present. In summing up the result of the above experiment it is quite evident that our home-grown Asparagus supplies might very easily be largely increased, and it is to be hoped the idea may be taken up as a means of profit by working men who are holders of land by the sea.

'It will be necessary, if success in the production of the first-class article is to be arrived at, to observe clearly at the onset three things of the utmost importance. First, thoroughly clean the land to be planted with Asparagus of all such weeds as Docks, Spear-grass or any other perennial weed, as if done at the first it is done for good, leaving the land free to be taken possession of by the Asparagus roots, and doing away with any after-necessity of forking about them. Second, plant good strong yearling plants not nearer together than two feet, better still if the distance is increased to three or four feet, marking the spot where each plant is planted with a stout stake, so that their position can be known. Third, the land must be kept free of weeds, and a dressing of manure, or any form of liquid manure, may be given occasionally during their season of growth.'

I may add that even in inland sandy places I am certain a very fair success is to be obtained in growing Asparagus by planting them in odds and ends of places, even amongst shrubs, or anywhere in suitable corners. The difficulty is to mark the place clearly enough in winter, so that when a new hand comes in the roots may not be dug up. The Asparagus plants that annually bear a quantity of berries are by no means so large as those that are unfruitful, and great numbers of gardeners now discard them at planting-time where they are known to exist. This, no doubt, is a step in the right direction. I believe this excessive seeding of some plants is the result of check in growth in young stages, such as severe root-injury, overcrowding in the seed-bed, and poverty of soil. It is well to add that in all exposed places it is necessary to secure by staking the summer's growth, as it is very important that this should be preserved from being broken down, and it should not be cut down till quite late in the autumn.