I was faithful to my tastes, and though I had little time I went to the Botanical Garden in the town. It had nothing in it very remarkable; all the greenhouse plants were out in the open, and many of our Northern plants were growing somewhat shabbily in pots as botanical curiosities, in the way we grow Southern things at home. The beautiful Catalpa syringœfolia was in full flower here, and in all other good Florentine gardens. The same with Trachelospermum jasminoides, which hung over all the walls in the greatest profusion, scenting the air for yards round. I am sure this plant is generally too much coddled at home, and would do better if sunk out during the summer and well watered; it is a greenhouse plant well worth growing. Asclepias incarnata and Asclepias tuberosa were very sweet; both these and Solanum glaucum are quite worthy of a place in a fair-sized greenhouse. Rupelia juncea, from Mexico, struck me as a pretty greenhouse plant, with red flowers and weedy growth. Iris pseudacorus was growing in a huge sunk pot, half earth, half water.

There was a large collection of Hydrangeas - plants so easy to increase that I think our greenhouses ought to contain greater varieties. These four struck me as good:

Hydrangea quercifolia, H. macrocephala, H. hortensis, and H. chinensis.

Variegated Maple is grown a good deal at Florence and, when skilfully used and much pruned, it can be made a considerable feature in any large garden - mixed with dark evergreens, such as Hollies, Privets, Irish Yews, etc., as it has almost the whiteness of flowers at a distance. Cassia australis struck me as being a handsome greenhouse evergreen.

The garden was full of sunk tubs for watering, with pieces of stone and small plants round the edge. Convolvulus mauritanicus is a plant to grow at home in considerable abundance; it comes easily from seed, and was lovely in this garden in half-shade under shrubs. Mine has lived out now three winters, its roots protected by a small shrub. It is also very pretty grown in baskets in the greenhouse.

I was disappointed at seeing no Lilies growing in gardens in Florence, though plenty of the Lilium candidum were sold in the market. How excellent is Mr. Stephen Phillips's line on a Lily garden: 'A tragic odour like emotion rose.' That is a complete description in words of the scent of some flowers, such as I had long sought for, but, I think, never found before.

Apparently nothing in my first book really offended the reviewers, and perhaps even the public, so much as my non-appreciation of Virginia Creeper and Ampelopsis veitchii. The remarks of one critic are typical of many others: 'Very gently and respectfully we would say "Avoid the dictatorial attitude," and we would point our meaning by an ancient horticultural saying of the Midlands: "Different people have different opinions - some like apples, and some like inions." Mrs. Earle, it seems to us, might well consider that occasionally others may, without being guilty of sin against art, admire that which revolts her sense of the beautiful. Frankly, her denunciation of Ampelopsis veitchii hurt our feelings. But the dictatorial tone, the inability to recognise two sides to a question, is characteristic of even the greatest gardeners.' What I did not sufficiently explain is that it is not a plant that I condemn in itself, but what I do condemn is the placing of it in wrong situations, or allowing it to destroy architectural beauty. I have under my own bedroom window an ugly piece of slate roofing which this autumn was covered with a mixture of Virginia Creeper and Ampelopsis - the latter still green, the former one mass of ruby and gold. Nothing could be more beautiful. But then it is growing where hardly anything else would grow, which is different to sacrificing a good south or west wall for this one week of beauty in the year.

My objection to Ampelopsis veitchii was certainly increased while in Florence, as it grew with the greatest profusion in every direction, and as a picturesque object (say, for sketching) the beautiful old Porta Romana was entirely destroyed and put out of tone, both with sky and earth, by being almost entirely covered with this terrible brilliantly green Japanese Ivy.