The soil is gravel, peculiarly bad for roses; and at no distant day my garden was a swamp, not unchronicled had we room to dwell on such matters. The bit of lawn looked decent only at midsummer. I first tackled the rose question. The bushes and standards, such as they were, faced south, of course—that is, behind the house. A line of fruit-trees there began to shade them grievously. Experts assured me that if I raised a bank against these, of such a height as I proposed, they would surely die; I paid no attention to the experts, nor did my fruit-trees. The mound raised is, in fact, a crescent on the inner edge, thirty feet broad, seventy feet between the horns, square at the back behind the fruit-trees; a walk runs there, between it and the fence, and in the narrow space on either hand I grow such herbs as one cannot easily buy—chervil, chives, tarragon. Also I have beds of celeriac, and cold frames which yield a few cucumbers in the summer when emptied of plants. Not one inch of ground is lost in my garden.
The roses occupy this crescent. After sinking to its utmost now, the bank stands two feet six inches above the gravel path. At that elevation they defied the shadow for years, and for the most part they will continue to do so as long as I feel any interest in their well-being. But there is a space, the least important fortunately, where the shade, growing year by year, has got the mastery. That space I have surrendered frankly, covering it over with the charming saxifrage, S. hypnoides, through which in spring push bluebells, primroses, and miscellaneous bulbs, while the exquisite green carpet frames pots of scarlet geranium and such bright