All the Funkias are worth growing, but all might be left out of a small garden except Funkia sieboldi. That, anyhow, must be grown out of doors, as it is a beautiful plant, gives no trouble, flowers every year, and lasts very well in water. If kept in a pot it flowers at the same time as out of doors, but under glass the flowers are distinctly finer. It is not very often seen, but is quite the handsomest, I think, of the Funkias.
A friend asks me to recommend a really good book on the kitchen garden, including the proper treatment of fruit-trees. I know no one book complete; the information on vegetables and fruit must be gleaned apart. For detailed directions on the culture of vegetables none comes near the translation of Vilmorin's, mentioned before. But for ordinary purposes and as a cheap book Sutton's 'The Culture of Vegetables and Flowers' (Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co.) is excellent. 'Profitable Fruitgrowing,' by John Wright, F.R.H.S. (171 Fleet Street, London), is clear, comprehensive, and concise, giving excellent information on pruning and general cultivation of all outdoor fruit-trees, and currants, gooseberries, and raspberries. It makes no allusion to orchard houses, nor to vines under glass or out of doors.
Samphire is a herb I have never yet tried to grow. I believe it is only to be had wild in its integrity from Norfolk, where they still make quite an industry of gathering and pickling it. The fresh Samphire is only to be found in August and September.
A critic in 'The Guardian' on 'Pot-Pourri' says it is a mistake to prune Chymonanthus fragrans after flowering in the winter, as I suggested; and adds, 'it should be done late in the summer by shortening back the year's growths to a quarter of their own length or less, to throw the vigour of the shrub into the short flowering spur rather than let it run into long, leafy and flowerless branches.' I think this quite true, but I call that cutting-back. What I mean by 'pruning' is taking out real branches, and I think that is desirable here in this light soil with nearly all the flowering shrubs directly after flowering, as well as cutting-back later in the year if they make too much growth.
I wonder the claret-coloured Vine is so seldom planted. The foliage is handsome and effective, and the little bunches of black grapes are interesting, and remind one of the ornaments in early Gothic churches. The stunted bunches are quite different in shape from those of ordinary grapes. They grow well up a pole, and make a good rough arch. Pancretiums are excellent greenhouse plants and well worth growing, especially P. fragrans. But in a small garden and greenhouse all these bulbs and plants want remembering and looking after in order to get a good succession, and the head of the garden must help the gardener, as it is absolutely impossible, with the number of things requiring his constant attention, that he should remember them all himself.