Nowadays it is, indeed, becoming for a new 'gardening-book' to slink into the world under cover of an apology; and it had been my intention to plead, in excuse, that this volume of mine held no presumptuous notion of giving help to any rival gardener (for all true gardeners are rivals). I see, however, that such a plea would at once make publication a mere impertinence. Therefore I will frankly hope that some of my readers may consider this book's existence justified by the help it gives them. But if some are inclined to resent the appearance of yet another work on gardening, others may well cavil, I fear, at its confessed incompleteness and inadequacy. To these I plead that only the most stringent considerations of space could have compelled the many omissions that they will mark in my pages. I had originally dealt faithfully with all my plants, and if any reader now vainly search this book for a detailed treatment of Aethionema, Silene, Lychnis, Veronica, and many another treasure, let him blame not me, but the pitiless blue pencil that made such a massacre of the innocents.