To-day we drove to Kew. A lovely day here, but on arriving there we were met by a dark smoke fog from London. It is very sad how black Richmond and Kew have got lately, and the plants are suffering very much. One does not notice it in the early spring, but at this time of year the leaves are black and shrivelled, and the glories of autumn will not be for them. Oh, why cannot something be done to save us from this curse of smoke? The difference during the twenty years I have lived here is astonishing.

I was disappointed with a great deal of the planting at Kew; certainly large fat beds on green grass are very unsuggestive and commonplace. The spring garden was pretty in general effect, the autumn garden only interesting in detail. There were some plants pruned back to form interesting sub-tropical-looking foliage, which were far stronger and easier of cultivation than the real sub-tropical plants often used. They remain where they are planted and are merely fed, I suppose, and cut backin spring to one shoot. Paulonia imperialis filled one bed. The plant comes from Japan, and so might be injured sometimes by late frosts in spring. The leaves in this bed were huge, and would make a very fine effect in any large place where there is plenty of room, and when in flower it must be a very handsome plant. It does not do on a sandy soil, nor on a very cold damp soil. The stag's-horn sumach (Rhus typhina) was treated in the same way, leaving only one shoot to grow.

The Nicotiana tomentosa alba was quite a failure this wet year, and had not one flower, though magnificent foliage. I should say it had been put into rather too good soil and so had all gone to leaf. There were large beds of Clematis Davidiana, not effective. It is a beautiful thing, and two or three plants put together would make an interesting feature in any large garden, but neither form nor colour is good enough for a large bed. The white double Rosa rugosa made a splendid group on the grass. A great many of the shrubs were well pruned back even when not in regular beds. The bays are the hardier for this, and the Rhus Cotinus, if much pruned back, is a different-looking plant. Rhus laciniata is low growing and has lovely foliage. Indigofera Gerardiana is another plant well worth growing in a clump, and it also wants nothing but pruning back hard in early winter. The useful tall polygonums at Kew were not nearly so fine as my own. I do not know whether this is from the soil being colder and heavier than mine or from not doing what seems indispensable to their successful growth - thinning out their shoots in April to five or six. Properly treated, both P. sachalinense and P. cuspidatum are superbly decorative, beautiful plants, but I never see them what I call properly grown. I saw no montbretias planted in the grass, and yet they look most beautiful done in that way. Even in a wood, and given moisture, they seem to stand a good deal of shade. So do Japanese anemones, which look far better planted on the edge of a wood, or under some small fruit-trees, than in an ordinary border. They hate being disturbed, and look most lovely growing of their own accord in the shade; a little top-dressing in spring helps them. They make a great show of seeding, but I believe only in one garden in Ireland has the seed ever really ripened. The rose 'Caroline Testout' was flowering very well; it is a good pink rose. All the others seemed over; with roses everything depends on its being just their best day.

Perhaps what interested me most in this visit to Kew was a cool house where the creepers were admirably managed and so well pruned and grown; they were most healthy and covered with bloom. The large conservatories of the rich are built far too high, and so the pruning is not done, and the flowers, poor imprisoned things, stare out at the sun through the glass at the top. Here the creepers were all planted in the ground inside the conservatory, so their growth was strong and their flowers abundant. Blue plumbago, an abutilon - 'Golden Gem,' I think - and that shy flowerer, Hidalgood Werokalsi, was right across the house and covered with its good read orange blooms. Its foliage and growth are pretty and refined as a creeper, but the flowers are very like a single dahlia on a thinner stalk. There was an old plant of a fuchsia called ' General Roberts,' that looked very well trained against the roof and falling down. That lovely thing, the Lonicera sempervirens, was flowering well. I never can get it to do very satisfactorily here out of doors. In the sun it gets too dry, and in the shade it does not flower freely, and becomes blighted ; in this house it was seen to perfection. On the shelves there were Solarium Melongenas - egg plants - more curious than pretty, some lovely pots of Campanula isophylla variety Mayi, also C. Loreyi, both upstanding, and worth growing for variety of colour in a greenhouse at this time of year. There were many South African plants new to me, but the chief interest of all was a large collection of South African pelargoniums. Many of these I had never seen, except in Andrews' book, 'The Botanist's Repository,' where a great number of these plants are beautifully figured under their old name of geraniums - which plants they resemble; but pelargoniums are entirely indigenous to the southern hemisphere, while geraniums belong to this hemisphere and are all hardy ; which, of course, pelargoniums are not in England, except quite in the South, and even there they require some protection. I have amused myself for the last few years collecting Cape pelargoniums, but they are impossible to buy, and trying to get the roots straight from the Gape seems rather hopeless, at least so I have found. I have about thirty varieties, which I have collected with difficulty from different people, but none retain their bulbous roots. The prettiest and most curious is one figured in the ninth volume of Curtis' 'Botanical Magazine,' called now 'Moulton's Gem,' but by Curtis Pelargonium echinatum. I have also a rich dark red variety spotted in the same way. Rollinson's ' Unique' is another with a particularly attractive flower. Among the sweet-leaved varieties the best is the true old ' Prince of Orange.' It is not very easy to get now, and I would give cuttings to those who care to write and ask for them in August and September. This plant is rather tenderer than the generality of these sweet-scented pelargoniums, and does best planted in the ground in a rose-house or vine-house and well watered, when it grows into a large plant. It can then be cut nearly the whole year round.