The greenhouse got its great summer clear-out a while back, and a variety of pots containing earth and a shrivelled twig of something were removed and stuck round the back of the house where nobody would see them. If we were better at things they would have been emptied, sterilised, etc. But we aren’t. I needed a couple of pots for some new geraniums, and nipped round to the back to get them: I was delighted to find that one such twig turned out to be the ginkgo which our Tromsø friend bought me in Stavanger last year, and it was looking very cheerful, with quite half a dozen new leaves (it is only 5 inches high, I might add). And when I tipped the dirt out of another pot, it turned out to have a fat rhizome in it, with roots, and a sprout which had not yet broken the surface, and I realised that it was a very small cycad, which I had been quite sure was dead last summer. It may be no coincidence that both these plants are from families of inconceivable antiquity. You don’t get to survive for 280 million years without a certain degree of obstinacy about dying, I should think.