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Zoe's Garden

Zoe says emphatically that it is not her garden, but everybody's garden. But it is her garden because she tends it, and every morning goes around among her flowers lovingly, giving a little dig of dirt here, and tying some frail sisters up there and then, with her scissors, clipping, snipping and nipping away. Yes, it is Zoe's garden.

Anything that has spunk to grow is welcome in this essentially San Franciscan garden. And no one is allowed to bully the others. Big burly geraniums and proud dahlias must keep in their places and give the dainty lobelia, cinnamon pinks, oxalis and candy tuft their chance. The oxalis! How we tended it in pots in New England, and out here in California, bless its heart, it runs around like a native daughter. And as for the fuchsia, how far it has grown from the blue laws.

There is no formality in Zoe's garden. Marigolds go wandering about in the most trampish manner, and poppies, because they are privileged characters, spring up as they please. Then, as though the two of them were not sufficient California gold, there is the faithful gaillardia with its prim little sunflower-faces smiling up at their Mother Sun.

It is a democratic garden, too. Golden rod and asters grow right in among the aristocrats. Fancy the snubbing they would get if they once ventured into a New England garden - Hm. There is freedom there, but not license, and every opportunity for individuality. The gladiolas, canterbury bells, gillie flowers and fox gloves grow as prim as in a conservative English garden. Pansies smile in their little bed, and although the nasturtium, the wild-growing, happy-go-lucky nasturtium, goes visiting around among all his neighbors, he is never allowed to interfere with those who wish to keep by themselves. The sweet peas stay very close to their tradition of wire netting, but they are not snobs at all, and give of their bounty to all who call. The sensuous jasmine is there, and the cold puritanical ceneraria and old maids' pin cushions, with fragrance of sandalwood. The red-hot-poker grows stiff and straight, but the ragged sailor goes uncombed and untidy still.

Cosmos is coming soon, dressed in her very feminine clothes, and the coreopsis has come on ahead. All old-timers are represented there, honeysuckle, wormwood, petunias, rosemary, gilias, mignonette, heliotrope and foxgloves. If they can not all be there together, all are there at some time in the summer. Montbretia, Japanese sunflower, larkspur, columbine and gourds all have their time and place and opportunity in this San Francisco garden. And the hollyhocks, the bossy things, I've a mind to leave them out. Besides I know some gossip about them. When Zoe was away to Yosemite one morning they were all leaning over from too much moonshine or too much sunshine and - well, I won't repeat what the marigolds told me about them.

Besides it is time to come away from Zoe's garden, which is everybody's garden.

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