Love It and Leave It
Color in Garden - Plate 11b

Special appeal, rather than ease of culture, has been the keynote of most of the preceding chapters. However, the "neglectable" garden also has its place. This is for the youngster who spends part of his summer vacations away from home, or for the child who loves flowers but not enough to pin himself down to a regular gardening schedule. For them are the stalwarts that ask little but give many flowers which will bloom without much attention before vacation time arrives, and will still be carrying on with abandon at summer's close. Suitable inmates for such a garden are not hard to find.

Drought-proof flowers fill the bill particularly well. These are by no means inferior substitutes for loveliness. Usually they are immigrants from hot, dry parts of the world, thor­oughly desirable, but still content with their native arid growing conditions. Given the right location in the first place, they usually suffer very little when left untended. California poppies, gazania, portulaca, snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata), sand verbena (Abronia), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Dahlberg daisy, ice plant or Livingston daisy (Mesembryanthemum), rudbeckia, Mexican tulip-poppies, dusty miller, Mexican hybrid zinnias, various kinds of thyme, and all the sedums come under this heading.

Tyrant types are another excellent choice. These are the rampaging plants that simply take over a garden once they get a foothold. They are often given a wide berth by experienced gardeners, or strenuous steps are taken to hold them in bounds. But for the child who wants masses of flowers without doing much about them, they are ideal. Beebalm, Chinese lanterns, bouncing Bet, old fashioned Oriental poppies, hardy ageratum, false dragonhead or obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), the old varieties of daylily and iris, wild violet, lily-of-the-valley, ajuga, golden glow and rudbeckia can all get along very nicely, thank you, without any human assistance. If you want clues for the selection of such independent beauties take stock of the next old abandoned garden you come across. Note how many plants can, and do, take care of themselves when put to the test.

Naturalized bulb plantings may also be left pretty much to their own devices. Crocus in the lawn, daffodils or grape hyacinths under trees or shrubs, botanical tulips (the wild species tulips) in a rock garden and many other bulb flowers will last for years without much care.

Wildflowers are quite naturally accustomed to taking care of themselves. If you have a spot where they can be given approximately their native growing conditions, a colorful crowd can be assembled to multiply and thrive on neglect.