The lion-like character of the weather is softening, and all the little spring things begin to come through. Each day makes a difference, but the delightful feeling of new life is already everywhere. Our reason tells us this is because Nature has been asleep, not dead. There is no mistake about the poor really dead plants; we know them too well. Early spring here is not beautiful at all; it is dry and shrivelled and hard-looking, not like the neighbourhood of my old home by the Hertfordshire millstream.
The white Alyssum, the common Pulmonaria, and the Wallflowers are all coming into flower. I feel more and more sure that mixed borders ought not to be dug up in autumn, as gardeners - especially gardeners new to a place - are so fond of doing; in that way half the best things get lost. The best way is to re-plant, or dig out large pieces and divide each plant if it wants it after flowering and before they quite die down. The white Alyssum and the Pulmonarias both do better under the slight protection of shrubs than quite in the open border, where the cold winds catch them.
My two large old Camellias planted out last autumn, well under a Holly and facing north, are doing well, and one has three bright rosy-red blooms. It remains to be seen how they will do next year. It is a pleasure to think Camellias do better in London gardens than almost any other evergreens, and only want well planting in peat and leaf-mould, and well syringing and watering in the spring. But there also they must have the protection of other shrubs, to hang over their tops and keep off the spring frosts.
A semi-double Azalea for the greenhouse, called Deutsche Perle, was given me the other day, and is a charming greenhouse plant. The flower has something of the appearance of a Gardenia, but it has no scent..
I have had two real good days' gardening, and have tried to carry out some of Miss Jekyll's hints, even in this commonplace, every-day garden. I have pulled down some of the climbing Roses, to let them make low-growing bushes; for it is so true that, as she says, when planted on a Pergola all their beauty is only for the bird as it flies. In the lanes, too, I saw some of the wild Arum leaves, and got out of the carriage to get some. Having no garden-gloves or knife with me, I ran my finger down into the soft leafy mould to gather them with the white stalk underground. I trust these will rejoice an invalid friend in London to-morrow. One gets almost tired of the mass of flowers in London now, and things that smell of ditches and hedgerows are what one values most.