One way in which we can get immense carpets of flowers in ordinary gardens without rocks, as well as on great estates that have plenty of rocky land, is to concentrate on rock plants that are very easily raised from seed. Here is a list that we can get from our own seedsmen, and these kinds are so easy to grow that most of them will bloom the first year, if started in a frame in March. Practically all can be had cheaply by the ounce and I hope that some of our readers will give them a thorough trial now for next season's bloom.
Those marked * are the only ones that actually grow upon the Alps, so far as I know, but in the rest of this article I shall pay no attention to such distinctions, because the Alps do not have a monopoly of floral beauty by any means. Indeed, the whole spirit of alpine gardening is cosmopolitan. The rockery is a beautiful device that enables us to grow plants from Arctic and Antarctic lowlands, from the highest mountains of the tropics and from our own Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. And the word "alpine" is now so thoroughly generalized that people no longer begin it with a capital, and if you wish to refer specifically to European conditions you must say "the Alps".
Snow in summer
pink, purple, white May-July
•Alpine forget-me-not Myosotis alpestris
Spring to Fall
In fact, the only useful distinction that can be made among alpine plants is between those that are easy to grow and those that are hard to grow. By "hard" I mean those that have to be grown in a rockery, and are, therefore, only for the few who have money and enthusiasm. By "easy" I mean those that any one can grow in ordinary garden soil without rocks, or with such modest rock work as any one can afford.
I have already given the names of forty-six European rock plants which will give us glorious mass effects in any garden, and which are commonly kept in stock by American nurserymen. I could easily extend the list to a hundred real English effects that we can transport bodily. But that is of little importance. The great fact is that many of the rock plants most treasured in England are really native to America, and therefore are adapted to our climate beyond the shadow of a doubt.
No one, so far as I know, has pointed out to what extent English rock gardens are indebted to America and I shall therefore devote the rest of this article to American wild flowers; for no matter how many foreign alpines may feel at home here, it is obvious that we can never develop an American style unless we use some of our own wild flowers on a great scale.