Many children work more enthusiastically in the company of other children. They develop a keener interest and accomplish more in group gardening than they ever would at home. Parents whose youngsters show this preference for organized activities should look into the junior gardening programs undertaken in their communities. In many cities and towns you will find educational, business, social and adult garden organizations sponsoring some form of gardening for children.
The director of group work has a somewhat different problem from that of the parent working only with his own children, and he must proceed from a broader base, catering to childhood enthusiasms shared by the largest numbers. Some of these enthusiasms are almost universal. All children possess the gift of curiosity. They love novelty. They have a passion for collecting things, and at certain stages they show a remarkable interest in acquiring odd facts and new skills. Above all,
they have fresh, open minds, uncluttered with adult taboos and preconceived notions. Keeping these common attributes in mind, the group leader has wide latitude for introducing innovations and unhackneyed plans and plants. And sensing the need for linking gardening plans to childhood enthusiasms he will be on a constant quest for diversity and interest laden schemes.
A substantial part of the ideas presented in other chapters are adaptable to group work. Particularly applicable is the chapter on collections. Throughout the book group leaders will find projects suitable for exhibitions, competitive enterprises or the earning of awards. Teachers will find material for contests, for conveying knowledge, for brightening the schoolroom, and for holiday celebrations.
Feature gardens, other than those already covered, may be worked out in various ways by garden leaders. These need not replace the basic, conventional garden, which certainly deserves its preeminence. Use them, rather, for spice, incentive, a spirit of contest, special honors, demonstrations or displays.
A debutante garden, composed of plants making their first public appearance in garden society, can be assembled from current catalogs' first-time offerings. This would be such a garden as no one had even seen before! Except, of course, in professional test gardens. Even there they would not be in the company of all the others! Each year almost every seedsman has an introduction or two of his own, not available elsewhere for a year or two. Search the catalogs for them and combine them in one gala gathering.
A celebrity garden is another glamour possibility. Gather together in a single garden the beauty-contest winners of the last few years-those famous All America medal wearers. What
an elite display could be presented; a company of blue-bloods indeed!