In a beautiful old garden close to the Thames, I saw a simple but really lovely effect of garden planting. In a small, inner, walled garden were some old yews, sombre and dark, and in front, instead of the ordinary mixed border or the eternal autumn yellows, was an enormous bed entirely planted - and very well done, not too close together - with Nicotiana sylvestris alba. Its beautiful long white flowers stood out against the dark background, and in the pale evening light the effect was magical. One great advantage of this plant over the old Nicotiana affinis, is that it does not close by day, but, in spite of this, affinis is the best for small gardens. The other must be massed and have such a lot of room to look really well. Gardeners are rather afraid of it, as some years it fails and only goes to leaf. I think this is greatly owing to treating it too well in the way of rich soil.

Against autumn and deciduous trees and shrubs in the front of park-like scenery, nothing looks so handsome as very large clumps of yellow flowers shading up to orange, letting montbretias be the highest touch towards the red.The endless varieties of perennial sunflowers helianthus and harpaliums, rudbeckias, &c. - make these easy and successful, and they can be varied and improved year by year, as they are all the better for replanting late in each autumn. Mr. Robinson gives such a splendid list of the varieties of these sunflowers that I need not repeat. The great thing to note is the variety in their heights. Lately, a double rudbeckia, ' Golden Glow,' has been added to these yellow autumn flowers and is most effective and useful. In the latest of autumn sunshine these yellow flowers look beautiful against autumn leaves.

For mixed borders, a low-growing white phlox - 'La Reine' - is a very good one, I find. If cut down, it flowers again in autumn.

All the hardy statices (sea lavender) do well in this light soil and, had they more space than I can give them, would form a beautiful patch of blue-grey colour in this bad month for bloom. They are easily increased, as they are what is called root-plants. You dig them up intending to move them ; probably, the bit you left behind produces a finer spray of flower than the large root you take away. That means that every piece of root will grow if in a sunny, dry situation.

For those who like unshowy plants with various charms of their own, the hardy euphorbias (spurges) are a fascinating family to cultivate. The well-known Cape spurge (E. Lathyris) is a plant with a distinct habit and considerable beauty of foliage and demeanour when well grown. It sows itself in this garden, and I merely pull up those that are not wanted. E. pilosa and E. amyg-daloides are very attractive in spring from their yellow flowers, which look like leaves when little else is in bloom.

I have grown for years Veratrum nigrum merely for the pleasure of the growth of its handsome, green, crinkled leaves in spring, and this wet summer brought me the surprise of seeing it throw up its unusual tall flower-spike with numberless blackish purple blossoms. There is a white variety which I shall now feel encouraged to get. They are handsome alpines, rarely seen, for they do not thrive in a dry rockery. Cineraria maritima, that distinctive perennial with grey leaves, I used to lose year after year, when I first lived here. Then it struck me to plant it on the southern side of a moisture-absorbing shrub, and ever since it has flourished year by year, and is one of the joys of late autumn.

I think most gardeners plant their spring potatoes all at once ; I find it a great advantage to plant a few rows every month up to the beginning of August, as this continues much longer the delicacy so prized by many people of little waxy new potatoes. Seakale beet is a vegetable which does not seem to be generally known. I have grown it for some years, and, though it is not extraordinary in any way, it makes a pretty dish as described in receipts.

One of the things that my readers never seem to have forgiven me was my condemnation of the Virginia creeper and the Ampelopsis Veitchii in my first books. They never seem to understand that it had nothing to do with dislike of the lovely plant, but with the way it was misused, and I am as convinced as ever that, like ivy, it does spoil beautiful brickwork. This year I have been haunted by someone quoting me as an authority as to when the Virginia creeper was first grown on London houses. When I put it as late as 1841, it was a great misstatement. J. C. Loudon, in his 'Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum,' published in 1838, says, 'The Virginia creepers grow freely in the smoke of cities and in London, and it was introduced into England in 1629.'

I have lately received papers with regard to establishing a Colonial branch of the Horticultural College at Swanley, Kent. This with a special view to the immediate demand for competent women in South Africa, in which country there is a present deficiency of 70,000 Englishwomen. The proposal seems to me well worthy the consideration of those interested in emigration questions. The Horticultural College, in its women's branch, seems to have been suffering considerably from want of funds.

Last month came out a new periodical called 'Animal Life I spent a delightful five minutes in front of it at a railway bookstall. It begins with a picture of Sir Harry Johnstone's new animal, the Okapi. I am sure many - especially young people - are pining to see this new creature : the stuffed specimen is at the Natural History Museum at South Kensington. The first article is by Professor Garner and called ' Monkey Land,' with such pictures of monkeys ! I said to myself, 'I must buy this new magazine. First numbers are always the best.' It was only 7d. The next number had an article on the great apes, by Sir Harry Johnstone. That finished me, so now I take it in. I wrote to Sir Harry to ask for a few more details about the food of the apes in Africa. He very kindly answered as follows : 'About apes. They are to me a profoundly interesting subject. I look upon them as quite half human. Their food consists of the fruit of several species of Amomum (a plant allied to ginger and to the banana); of the core or heart of some palms or of other trees ; of mushrooms (most abundant and succulent in the great forest); of the plums of the parinarium-tree, and the fruits of many other forest trees; of roots (in the case of the chimpanzees, of young birds, rats, beetle grubs, and other animal food); and, finally, of plunder from the forest negroes' plantations.The great apes are mainly vegetable feeders, but certain chimpanzees readily devour flesh.'

The amomum (from a, not, and momos, impurity; in reference to the quality of counteracting poison) referred to here is described in the 'Dictionary of Gardening ' as a stove herbaceous perennial, chiefly aromatic, and formerly used in embalming. I wonder whether the fact of the chimpanzees' taste for flesh points to a possibility of their evolving through a meat-eating phase into humanity ? Sir Harry Johnstone calls them the most human of all the apes.