11 NOVEMBER 1949, Page 18


SOME odd contrasts are to be seen this November. We have had with at least their normal severity the first stiff frosts, that have blackened and wilted the vegetable marrows, the climbing beans, the dahlias and nasturtiums, and reduced rose-buds to flabbiness, always excepting the Mermaids. At the same time, in spite of the frosts, the garden beds— and paths—and the tilths are green almost beyond precedent with seed leaves. The hot dry periods that preceded the frosts ripened all seed; and the spilth was prodigious. Then followed the "blessed waterspouts," and the seed did not wait for Shelley's clarion of the spring, and indeed the clarion of autumn is often quite as loud and Orphcan. The most salient examples are to be seen on some few corn fields which, as a farmer said, are "almost worth leaving and no bother about plowing, harrowing and seeding," so many are the plants of oats and wheat. Who shall estimate how much valuable green-manuring this wealth of seed-leaves will supply, whether the winter kills them or they are destroyed by plow (which should be so spelt) or hoe ?