By-Paths to Gardening

Wildflower spectacles. Many of our horticultural showings are not specially housed or tended, but are spread lavishly along the very roadsides. In the southern part of Texas endless stretches of wild bluebonnets make out of the plains an ap­parent ocean of indigo buntings. Mountain meadows of Rainier in the state of Washington and of Hood in Oregon are crowded in the spring with blossoming lupine, foxglove, columbine, mariposa tulip and a hundred other flowers. Southwest deserts bloom with color in the spring. Acres of lupine near Palm Springs present a startling vista. Seeing catalog flowers thus blooming wild, and in wild profusion, is a spectacle to be stored in memory.

Commercial gardens. Among the most impressive sights of all are some of the commercial gardens of seed, bulb and plant growers, where acre upon acre is filled with unbroken blooming color. If it is ever within your power, show your young tourist the valleys of California where literally hundreds and hundreds of acres planted to annuals make giant patch­work quilts of fantastic brilliance. If the opportunity permits, go to see some of the vast bulb farms of Washington and Oregon which vie with the famous Holland plantings. Include, if you can, commercial water gardens where waterlilies and other aquatic plants are grown in their natural settings. All over the country are expansive plantings of nurseries specializing in such things as roses, irises, daylilies, tuberous begonias and gladioli. During the height of the blooming season these are memorable pictures. No matter where you live you won't have to drive far to locate some commercial garden worth seeing.

So that you don't unwittingly whizz by such displays, take with you on your motor trips The Gardener's Travel Book edited by Edward I. Farrington. This lists, state by state, garden events, famous gardens, wild flower displays, historic trees, and all sorts of horticultural features.

Souvenirs. That special delight of childhood, souvenirs of a trip, can have a garden flavor, too. The child who is plan­ning a winter tray or dish garden can collect a lot of local oddities to be used in this pursuit. So can the youngster in­terested in dried winter arrangements. He can pick up cones, cattails and unfamiliar seed pods he sees along the roadside. He will find eucalyptus pods and pink pepper berries in Cali­fornia, palm leaves in Florida, and interesting shells, pebbles and driftwood on beaches everywhere. Let him collect pieces of lava rock from craters in Idaho and various areas in the southwest. If he is alert he will notice many odd and un­familiar mineral rocks of varying colors and formations in different sections of the country.