21 MARCH 1931, Page 15

Africa excels in colour. It is therefore one of the

very greatest feats of English florists that they have succeeded in the task (not, as Shakespeare held, of supererogation) of gilding the lily. The most lovely and useful of the African annuals introduced into England is beyond question the Nemesia. Its jewel-like flowers and its happy habit of increasing the bulk of the plant as the year proceeds give it rare advantages. It is a peculiar pleasure to watch the silly little spindly plants, as transplanted from the seed-box, swell like the cricket ball in the Harrow song, fill up the spaces in the bed (and they should always be grown in mass) and flower more and more. This annual (thanks largely to careful selection by Suttons at Reading) now boasts a range of colours utterly different from the original introduced from South Africa. It boasts even a blue that may be compared with the delightful tints of the nemophila. A not less startling success is to the credit of the English florists who took in hand that strange variety of the gladiolus found under the spray of the Zambesi falls when it had developed an umbrella hood to protect its stamens from the wet.