Celebrations Ahead
Color in Garden - Plate 11b

Few things in a child's world are more thrilling than the celebration of holidays, birthdays and other special occasions. For these big days many little gardens can be planned for ahead of time to coincide with the events.

For Valentines day the objective would obviously be either a homemade floral valentine or a special corsage. Pressed flowers prepared during the blooming season, and later mounted on bright paper backgrounds, could make highly personalized valentines. Heart shaped leaves, like those of the heart ivy or pink and red fancy-leaved caladium, can be very appropriately converted into valentines by pasting them on heart-shaped paper doilies. Caladium leaves also lend themselves to grouping in very distinguished little corsages.

A winter window-garden may provide any number of blossoms suitable for making nosegays. A geranium head or an azalea cluster, for instance, needs only to be framed with a lace-paper doily, wired and taped, to become a valid little valentine boutonniere.

A few outdoor sources can be tapped, too. Both winter jasmine and witch-hazel are available in many areas by mid-February. And with a little forehandedness, forced blossoms of early shrubs like forsythia and Japanese quince can be made ready.

St. Patrick's day naturally calls for the shamrock, which can be grown from seed to synchronize with the date. Catalogs say that seeds planted in flowerpots in the house about January 10 will produce fine little potted shamrocks by March 17, suitable for gifts, table decoration or lapels. (From experience I would recommend giving them about a month longer than this.) Inverted glass jars over the young plants will boost them along.

Green daffodils are another symbol of this day, and most youngsters know how to produce them by sticking the stems into a bottle of blue ink to drink until the blue and yellow have combined to give a green effect. Some of the early varieties, like the February Gold planted in a sunny protected corner, should produce flowers in time.

For Easter it is possible to have lilies-of-the-valley in full bloom from pips which have been held in cold storage. These are quick, easy and can be counted on to bloom within three or four weeks from time of planting. Lilies-of-the-valley will grow in pebbles and water, or in bulb fiber and water. Planted thickly in a low bowl, they are attractive enough to serve as the Easter dinner centerpiece.

Another possibility is the Easter lily cactus, which usually begins to flower around Easter time, depending, of course, on when Easter comes. It is one of the easiest of cacti to grow.

Corsages to wear with the new Easter outfit, homegrown and handmade, would be most appealing to small feminine gardeners.



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