Not quite hardy bulbs are more mysterious in their wilfulness than almost any other plants I grow. You seem to treat them exactly the same, but the least little thing must affect them, for you get unexpectedly different results. This is perhaps the reason why so few gardeners grow them. The year before last I had a dozen or more of Orniihogalum arabicum, and they all flowered most beautifully. They were well worth growing, and have the usual merit of their tribe that every one flowers in water, and this kind has a distinct aromatic odour which is rare with ornithogalums. It is not quite hardy, and must be grown in a pot. It is a lovely plant with its pale cream petals and jet black eye. It is cheap to buy, and with a little care in the drying off ought to go on from year to year. This year I had a dozen new bulbs ; only two of them flowered, and those not very well. After a great deal of pumping, the gardener told me he thought the reason of this failure was that they came from Holland in a slightly growing state and were potted up later than usual. So it resolved itself into the fault being mine, as I had ordered the bulbs late. These plants are often seen now in London shops. They want a little protection, but no heat except the sun in spring. My 0. nutans continues to flourish most satisfactorily in the grass, and it is a pretty thing!

I think those who have big places and pieces of water ought not to neglect planting the taxodium or deciduous cypress. It is such a beautiful tree, and in favourable circumstances must grow fairly quickly. Perhaps it does not live long in this country, for I think there used to be many more about in my youth than I see now. I suppose it was a fashion when it first came from America, where it grows best in the swamps of the Southern States. It must have been introduced before 1640, as Parkinson mentions it and says: 'Its seed was brought by Master Tradescant from Virginia and sown here, and doe spring very bravely.'It is not a true cypress, of course, but a separate genus.

I have been singularly unsuccessful with the Romneya Coulteri, having lost it two or three times over. Humiliating confession! I am now trying it again, and it promises well. The finest I know in this light Surrey soil is growing under a west wall and is slightly shaded to the south by shrubs. It is a very fine specimen, throwing up suckers in all directions, as if it would say, ' See how easy I am to grow !' It requires a little protection in winter with bracken, straw, or dry leaves. I killed mine last year by stupidly ordering that ashes should be put round it. Besides its beauty and uncommonness - for one does not often see it - the buds come out in water - a great merit. Gaura Lindheimeri is a perennial, but I have never succeeded in keeping it here over more than one winter. I think it is a plant well worth treating as a half-hardy annual sown early in January every year, and planted out thickly in a sheltered place in full sun. It is very attractive, and is much grown in the gardens in Paris.