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SINCE MY last entry we have had alternations of devastating heat and south-easters. The south-easter is just the essence of dryness. Sometimes it blows for two or three days : then our skin feels parched, our nerves on edge and our heads splitting. The trees and plants look as if they were feeling the same way ; they are treated to every kind of indignity, and before they have recovered from one onslaught they are bowled over again. Leaves, twigs and branches go flying, acorns rattle down, and dust is carried for miles. Suddenly it ceases, and utter exhaustion prevails. Then we get a day or two of intense heat with never a breath of wind until we long for the south- easter back again.

Yet through it all we realize that we are nearly at the end of our troubles. The first belladonna lilies push through on the cool side of the kloof, and here and there a Haemanthus coctimus glows red among the dried-up bushes. Every year they give me to wonder. The ground is so dry and hard that it would need a pick to break the surface, and yet these delicate blooms find a way to emerge. There has been no rain to tell them that autumn is on the way, and yet they come about the same day by the calendar every year. There is a tiny delicate Gladiolus (G. brevifolms] which also comes through just at this time. About nine inches high, it too grows in the hardest and driest ground : how it manages to push its way through remains a mystery.

All of these plants have no leaves until the rains come in April ; these do their work in winter, storing up food to allow the bloom to get ahead of all the hundreds of winter and spring flowering plants that we shall welcome later.

ANOTHER WEEK of heat and drought ; we are almost at the end of our resources. We had two cool days, and I always an optimist rushed forth and sowed seeds in the open. Now we have two more plots to keep watered. But what can a poor nurseryman do ? As soon as the rains begin, people want plants ; so the plants must be hurried along somehow and by the skilful use of shades, water and compost the seeds must be persuaded to germinate before their natural season ; but, as an old hand once said to me : " Anyone can grow plants in season ".

Through these hot days I long for my white flowers. For weeks and weeks in December and January I had a hundred or more big clumps of white Agapanthus blooming below the terrace on which stands my cottage. Behind them was a tree of white-flowered Bauhinia, and for some weeks with them bloomed my much-loved Catalpa trees. Their white blooms are almost like orchids when looked at closely, and in the dis- tance like glorified horse-chestnuts. We saw them as street trees in America ; what welcome shade they give, and how delicious the scent of the blooms ! In winter I love them just as much when their bare twigs trace the perfect outline of the tree and the delicate curve of every branch.

Now all these white flowers are gone ; yet in a month or two we shall have white flowers in plenty. My garden is a saucer in the hills, for on every side but one steep banks slope up to my neighbour's vineyards. As soon as the winter rains are well under way, these banks will be gleaming with tall white arums. They come up in every neglected corner of my garden (and there are many), so that on moonlight nights one may walk straight into fairyland.

A still night at full moon in this clear air is unbelievably beautiful. I once had a fine row of pink hollyhocks which I admired, but when I saw them by moonlight they were no longer " blowsy maids of hollyhocks " but etherealized. Their pink, all silvered over, seemed not to belong to this world at all.

So many people say : "I don't like white flowers ". Well, I don't agree ; but I know they have not seen what I have seen.

We all love our masses of intense colour in spring the daisies each more brilliant than the last, the vygies gleaming in the mid- day heat, and all the array of bulb flowers ; but when all this is past the white flowers seem to me like " the still small voice ", the ultimate core of things, something perhaps we never quite grasp or only for a moment in passing.