The catalog description of the odd Palm Springs daisy (Cladanthus) may catch a youngster's eye. Who ever heard of a daisy "bearing three or four more daisies around the perimeter of each blossom, each new flower doing the same thing until the plant has a spread of two feet or more of attached blossoms"? It sounds like a pipe dream, but it has actually existed for a long time. Gertrude Jekyll mentions it in her delightful book Children and Gardens published in 1908, and calls it the "hen and chickens daisy."
Another tax on credulity is the foxglove sport (Digitalis purpurea monstrosa), with the apex of a conventionally flowered foxglove spike capped with a large radial rosette of smaller blossoms. A few seedsmen list it as a novelty. It is another old-timer, but a novelty it would still be for the curious child.
In short, let the youngster with the questing mind explore some of the less plainly charted areas of gardening. Let him
pass up, if he wishes, the dependable plants with the brand of popular acclaim upon them, to try some of the strangers with unauthenticated credentials. He will have disappointments, to be sure. But there will be adventures, discoveries, and victories that could come in no other way. Seedsman Rex Pearce says:
"Adventure worthily, expecting
sometimes a loss. Adventure does not hold within
guaranteed and hostaged horizons. Risk is ever its shadow."