Now to tell you about my half-hardies; the number of them is of course very great, and the labour of potting and housing increased tenfold to what it is in England, from the extreme cold we have, which makes it impossible to leave out of doors any sort or kind of veronica, or Verbena citriodora, rosemary, cistus, hydrangea, Lobelia cardinalis, tritomas, Campanula pyramidalis, or the better sort of carnations. The few just named mean hundreds of little pots to be got through the winter, if I am to have anything like an adequate supply for next year. The pentstemons and best snapdragons, too, I keep in pots, then a few large plants of the glorious red salvia and the other salvia with large pink blooms, the white Paris daisy large and small leaved, the yellow marguerite, the calceolarias brown and yellow, the pretty blue Agathea carulea, the best kinds of bright pink verbenas to be kept to make cuttings from in the spring, and the best double fringed petunias, then all the Cape pelargoniums, the tuberous begonias, of which we raised a big batch from seed, and had some really splendid shades and sizes. I used these largely to produce patches of bright colour in the autumn garden and to fill up places from which the early flowering phloxes, tulips, English irises, hesperis, Aster alpinus, andCampanula persiccefoliahadbeen removed to the reserve garden after flowering. These gaps were filled by red salvias broken by scarlet tuberous begonias, by Paris marguerites with yellow and white begonias in between, or by the tall pink salvia which is so lovely with the Sedum spectabile as a groundwork.All in all this terrible winter, and the havoc among my roses and herbaceous perennials, have taught me a lot; as usual necessity being the key to success.I had lost all my foxgloves, tritomas, Anemone japonica, all the finer sorts of hypericums, nearly all English andSpanish irises, the Spanish squill, and numberless small and pretty alpines and other dwarf plants. And so, to save what could be, I had to put all my energy on to raising a sufficient stock and variety of annuals, and make much use of half-hardy andsub-tropicalplants fromseedsand cuttings; my cannas, castor-oil plants,red and green-leaved Indian hemp-solanums,caladiums,andthe threekinds of nicotiana, mixed with batches of gladiolus, montbretia, amaranthus, andchoicecactusdahlias,madea huge tropical-looking bed of most decorative effect.All were put out the second half of May, someon a trampled foundation of manure to help rapid growth.The tall daturas made a lovely clump close by, sunk, and planted out in the grass, the base of the clump hid by polygonum and Desmodium penduliflorum. My sweet-peas, the earliest, were raised in the greenhouse, sown in February in pots and planted out in April; the second batch in a cold frame in pots and planted out late in May; the third batch sown in place and just a little thinned, watered and manured.They are still now in full beauty - September 20 - but I never get them as tall or the blooms quite as large as the best English ones.Still they are good Eck-ford varieties, and I do not grumble, for, no doubt, I shall learn by and by.My greatest pleasure among all my annuals has been the thorough success of Nemesia strumosa, sown in three or four different little patches, in pots, in boxes, and out of doors; some pricked out into sandy soil and sunny places, some pricked off into boxes or large shallow pans, where they bloomed and seeded profusely. The biggest plants and profusest bloomers were those sown in place. They began to bloom the end of July, and are still lovely, and have yielded masses of cut blooms and good seed too, though it takes a lot of gathering.

A paling, topped by a little red-brick roof, has been prettily overgrown with a lovely new (to me) creeper called Solarium Wendlandi, tender, and to be treated like Plumbago capensis. It has large clusters of lovely lavender or mauvy-blue flowers, is a strong grower and covers a large space in one summer. It was very pretty growing alongside of a mass of good snow-white ever-lasting pea, with Plumbago capensis, and a mass of different shades of heliotrope at the foot of it scenting the air at a distance. And now we are on the verge of death and decay to all this quickly conjured-up loveliness, and the long lottery begins again which always brings surprises, and will perhaps force us next spring to have even more recourse to annuals. The long and short of all my efforts is to conclude that gardening in this climate is not really worth the trouble, as it means five months of life and seven months of death, and a yearly renewed effort to produce and reproduce plants that grow like weeds in the blessed climate of your British Isles.'

My friend's sad grumble reminds me of two or three lines in one of Robert Lytton's letters : 'Friendship under the chill veil of absence is like a garden covered with snow. The roots, the germs, the bulbs all are there, but where are the flowers ?' A garden is never without hope. What one thinks is dead springs up strong from the root, and what seems to have survived till the spring often proves to be dead.