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.
When you were a little girl, when you were a little boy, where did you play? Was it in a barn? Was it a city park? Did you hunt gophers on the plains of Iowa? Perhaps it was in a California poppy field. Perhaps a graveyard. I played in one, and remember very vividly the grave of Josephine Sarah Huthinson who died at the age of 11 months, and had a little lamb on the top of her stone and an inscription: “Except ye become as little children ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Many delightful games we played around the grave of little Josephine.
Wherever childhood found us we played, and out of our environment and often in spite of it, lived in a delightful world of our own into which no grownup ever really entered. Now, you and I, grownup, walk along the sidewalks of San Francisco and all we see under our calloused old feet is a sidewalk. But to children even a sidewalk blossoms with possibilities. Who but a child invented: “Step on a crack, you break your mother’s back.” Only the other day I saw a kiddie avoiding every crack and muttering some incantation as he walked along.