24 DECEMBER 1948, Page 17

Seasonable Preferences It remains an ineradicable belief in country places

that a cold Christmas is better for our health than a warm; and though this may be wholly unjustified, at least in regard to the more antique members of the village, it is demonstrably true in a botanical reference. In the south-west corner of England, which may rival the south of France, some fruit-trees, especially, I think, apples, habitually suffer from a sort of insomnia. They enjoy no winter sleep; and in such a year as this the late growth does not harden and suffers ,wentually from canker and such maladies. A much delayed winter maybe almost as dangerous a luxury as an abnormally early spring. Happily most buds obey the arc of the sun rather than the degree of cold. Buds on chestnut and balsam poplar today fairly gleam with gum, but the leaves quite refuse to leave their protective envelopes.