The effect of blooming flowers in the little garden may sometimes take a bit of faking. Some of the small everlastings could make colorful little flower beds. If the young gardener grows these himself in his summer garden, the fakery will be excusable.
Flowers from various house plants might occasionally be used, too, for temporary color. Put them into little medicine vials full of water, sunk into the soil. Beefsteak begonias have appropriately tiny blossoms. Your own window garden may offer other possibilities.
There are a few honest prospects, however, among the miniature blooming plants. Forced bulbs of winter aconite, snowdrops and crocus would do in certain cases. The pigmy geranium, available from geranium specialists, is a true miniature. Anyone who grows African violets from cuttings often has very small plants starting to bloom, which would fit into the little garden.
That tiniest of annuals, the Dahlberg daisy, is easy from seed and amenable to house culture. Its foliage is delicately fernlike, and it covers itself with a mass of tiny little golden daisies.
Several dwarf varieties of Impatiens are small enough to be appropriate. Scarlet Baby is a compact six-inch plant. There are a few extra-dwarf ones such as Beauty of Klettgau, which is only two inches high. It has fiery scarlet blossoms. Impatiens starts to bloom in about three months from seed.
Other properly diminutive plants are: Sedums, using just the tip ends of many varieties, the smallest of rosettes from
hen-and-chickens, newly formed plants from the pick-a-back and air plants, and tiny cluster-slips from house plants such as geraniums.
Other items that could be brought in from the garden to help get certain natural effects would be small brightly colored autumn leaves, such as those of barberry or blueberry, to strew over the ground beneath leaf-bare trees. Clusters of colored berries could easily pass for little shrubs in an autumn scene.
Desert scenes in either dish or tray garden can be really dramatic. Both construction and upkeep are simpler than other types of planting. If a child is not familiar with desert country he should be shown a variety of desert pictures to give him the feeling of the natural scenery. Also he should have some truly interesting specimens of cacti and succulents to work with.
Many small cactus plants can be purchased from florists and dime stores. You can make this a far more exciting experience, however, if you will get a cactus specialist's catalog and buy some of the remarkable oddities which are available from such sources.
This is truly a world of fantasy. Imagine ordering plants with names like Boxing Glove, Dominoes, Fairy Needles, Thimble Tuna, Bunny Ears, Calico Hearts, Stone Faces, Baby Toes, Mexican Firecracker, Paint Brush, Tiger Jaws, Hairy Starfish, Split Rock, Pretty Pebbles, Cockleburs, Inch Worm plant and many others equally fantastic.