Miniature snapdragons (Magic Carpet) are a strain almost guaranteed to delight a child. They grow only four to six inches tall, and cover themselves with blossoms of lovely colors.
The tiny zinnia Tom Thumb (sold by some dealers as Lilliput Tom Thumb or Tom Thumb Gem) grows only four to six inches high, and is one of the most delightful of miniatures. Do not confuse this with other small zinnias listed as "midget," "baby," "cupid" and "lilliput." In spite of their names these latter varieties run from one to two feet in height.
The mammoth members of the plant world would undoubtedly interest boys more than would the midgets. Several
of these have been mentioned in other chapters (zucca melon, poultry radish, yard-long beans, etc.). Other "super-colossal" possibilities include:
Trip-L-Crop tomato. Grows at least ten feet tall on a trellis, and sometimes as high as eighteen or twenty feet.
Himalayan giant lily (Lilium giganteum). A towering ten-foot specimen.
Giant summer hyacinth (Galtonia candicans). Waxy white bells on five-foot spikes.
Yucca lilies. Plant may be eight or ten feet tall, and has immense panicles of waxy bell-flowers.
Foxtail lily (Eremurus robustus or himalaicus). A magnificent eight-foot specimen.
Tithonia Avalon Earliest. An easy annual with flaming flowers something like zinnias. About seven feet tall.
Elephant's ear. This name is applied to two tropical plants with enormous leaves. One (Colocasia antiquorum) is grown only for its ornamental foliage. The other (Caladium esculen-tum) produces an edible tuber. Both can be grown in northern gardens, but tubers must be taken up for the winter. Leaves are about two feet long. Plants are capable of growing six to nine feet high. In the average garden they seldom get this tall, but they are still spectacular.
Gladioli are offered in king-size by some dealers. Some decorative type dahlias have blossoms measuring ten to fourteen inches across. Giant hybrid hibiscus introductions have flowers up to twelve inches in diameter. Certain varieties of Japanese iris (Iris kaempferi) under ideal conditions will grow five or six feet tall and produce enormous blossoms of dinner-plate size. Russian mammoth sunflowers sometimes have twenty-two-inch blossoms. You will find other gargantuan plants if you scan your catalogs carefully. In the child's garden these may not always attain their maximum potentials, but they will be showpieces, nonetheless.
Some of the quick-growing annual vines would also fit into the tall-tale garden. Cathedral bells (Cobaea scandens)
often zoom up to a dizzy twenty-five feet or more. Cardinal climber (Quamoclit sloteri) may reach fifteen to twenty-five feet. Moonflowers grow fifteen or twenty feet high sometimes. Coral vine (Antigonon leptopus), also called mountain rose and by other local names, climbs about thirty feet. This is quick growing from tubers, which must be winter-stored in cold areas. Wild cucumber vine (Echinocystis lobata) is one of the quickest growing of all annual vines, growing twenty feet or so with amazing speed. Children love to pop the puffy, spiny little hedgehog-like seed pods.