Read CHAPTER IV of Ethel Morton's Enterprise, free online book, by Mabell S.C. Smith, on


When Saturday came and the United Service Club tramped over Dorothy’s new domain, including the domain that she hoped to have but was not yet sure of, every member agreed that the prospect was one that gave satisfaction to the Club as well as the possibility of pleasure and comfort to Mrs. Smith and Dorothy. The knoll they hailed as the exact spot where a house should go; the ridge behind it as precisely suited to the needs of a garden.

As to the region of the meadow and the brook and the rocks and the trees they all hoped most earnestly that Mrs. Smith would be able to buy it, for they foresaw that it would provide much amusement for all of them during the coming summer and many to follow.

Strangely enough Roger had never found the cave, and he looked on it with yearning.

“Why in the world didn’t I know of that three or four years ago!” he exclaimed. “I should have lived out here all summer!”

“That’s what we’d like to do,” replied the Ethels earnestly. “We’ll let you come whenever you want to.”

Roger gave a sniff, but the girls knew from his longing gaze that he was quite as eager as they to fit it up for a day camp even if he was nearly eighteen and going to college next autumn.

When the exploring tour was over they gathered in their usual meeting place Dorothy’s attic and discussed the gardens which had taken so firm a hold on the girls’ imaginations.

“There’ll be a small garden in our back yard as usual,” said Roger in a tone that admitted of no dispute.

“And a small one in Dorothy’s present back yard and a large one on Miss Smith’s farm,” added Tom, who had confirmed with his own eyes the glowing tales that Della had brought home to him.

“I suppose we may all have a chance at all of these institutions?” demanded James.

“Your mother may have something to say about your attentions to your own garden,” suggested Helen pointedly.

“I won’t slight it, but I’ve really got to have a finger in this pie if all of you are going to work at it!”

“Well, you shall. Calm yourself,” and Roger patted him with a soothing hand. “You may do all the digging I promised the girls I’d do.”

A howl of laughter at James’s expense made the attic ring.

James appeared quite undisturbed.

“I’m ready to do my share,” he insisted placidly. “Why don’t we make plans of the gardens now?”

“Methodical old James always has a good idea,” commended Tom. “Is there any brown paper around these precincts, Dorothy?”

“Must it be brown?”

“Any color, but big sheets.”

“I see. There is plenty,” and she spread it on the table where James had done so much pasting when they were making boxes in which to pack their presents for the war orphans.

“Now, then, Roger, the first thing for us to do is to see ”

“With our mind’s eye, Horatio?”

“ how these gardens are going to look. Take your pencil in hand and draw us a sketch of your backyard as it is now, old man.”

“That’s easy,” commented Roger. “Here are the kitchen steps; and here is the drying green, and back of that is the vegetable garden and around it flower beds and more over here next the fence.”

“It’s rather messy looking as it is,” commented Ethel Brown. “We never have changed it from the way the previous tenant laid it out.”

“The drying green isn’t half large enough for the washing for our big family,” added Helen appraisingly. “Mary is always lamenting that she can hang out only a few lines-ful at a time.”

“Why don’t you give her this space behind the green and limit your flower beds to the fence line?” asked Tom, looking over Roger’s shoulder as he drew in the present arrangement with some attention to the comparative sizes.

“That would mean cutting out some of the present beds.”

“It would, but you’ll have a share in Dorothy’s new garden in case Mrs. Morton needs more flowers for the house; and the arrangement I suggest makes the yard look much more shipshape.”

“If we sod down these beds here what will Roger do for his sweetpeas? They ought to have the sun on both sides; the fence line wouldn’t be the best place for them.”

“Sweetpeas ought to be planted on chicken wire supported by stakes and running from east to west,” said Margaret wisely, “but under the circumstances, I don’t see why you couldn’t fence in the vegetable garden with sweetpeas. That would give you two east and west lines of them and two north and south.”

“And there would be space for all the blossoms that Roger would want to pick on a summer’s day,” laughed Della.

“I’ve always wanted to have a garden of all pink flowers,” announced Dorothy. “My room in the new house is going to be pink and I’d like to keep pink powers in it all the time.”

“I’ve always wanted to do that, too. Let’s try one here,” urged Ethel Brown, nodding earnestly at Ethel Blue.

“I don’t see why we couldn’t have a pink bed and a blue bed and a yellow bed,” returned Ethel Blue whose inner eye saw the plants already well grown and blossoming.

“A wild flower bed is what I’d like,” contributed Helen.

“We mustn’t forget to leave a space for Dicky,” suggested Roger.

“I want the garden I had latht year,” insisted a decisive voice that preceded the tramp of determined feet over the attic stairs.

“Where was it, son? I’ve forgotten.”

“In a corner of your vegetable garden. Don’t you remember my raditheth were ripe before yourth were? Mother gave me a prithe for the firtht vegetableth out of the garden.”

“So she did. You beat me to it. Well, you may have the same corner again.”

“We ought to have some tall plants, hollyhocks or something like that, to cover the back fence,” said Ethel Brown.

“What do you say if we divide the border along the fence into four parts and have a wild garden and pink and yellow and blue beds? Then we can transplant any plants we have now that ought to go in some other color bed, and we can have the tall plants at the back of the right colors to match the bed in front of them?”

“There can be pink hollyhocks at the back of the pink bed and we already have pinks and bleeding heart and a pink peony. We’ve got a good start at a pink bed already,” beamed Ethel Brown.

“We can put golden glow or that tall yellow snapdragon at the back of the yellow bed and tall larkspurs behind the blue flowers.”

“The Miss Clarks have a pretty border of dwarf ageratum that bunchy, fuzzy blue flower. Let’s have that for the border of our blue bed.”

“I remember it; it’s as pretty as pretty. They have a dwarf marigold that we could use for the yellow border.”

“Or dwarf yellow nasturtiums.”

“Or yellow pansies.”

“We had a yellow stock last summer that was pretty and blossomed forever; nothing seemed to stop it but the ‘chill blasts of winter.’”

“Even the short stocks are too tall for a really flat border that would match the others. We must have some ‘ten week stocks’ in the yellow border, though.”

“Whatever we plant for the summer yellow border we must have the yellow spring bulbs right behind it jonquils and daffodils and yellow tulips and crocuses.”

“They’re all together now. All we’ll have to do will be to select the spot for our yellow bed.”

“That’s settled then. Mark it on this plan.”

Roger held it out to Ethel Brown, who found the right place and indicated the probable length of the yellow bed upon it.

“We’ll have the wild garden on one side of the yellow bed and the blue on the other and the pink next the blue,” decreed Ethel Blue.

“We haven’t decided on the pink border,” Dorothy reminded them.

“There’s a dwarf pink candytuft that couldn’t be beaten for the purpose,” said James decisively. “Mother and I planted some last year to see what it was like and it proved to be exactly what you want here.”

“I know what I’d like to have for the wild border either wild ginger or hepatica,” announced Helen after some thought.

“I don’t know either of them,” confessed Tom.

“You will after you’ve tramped the Rosemont woods with the U.S.C. all this spring,” promised Ethel Brown. “They have leaves that aren’t unlike in shape ”

“The ginger is heart-shaped,” interposed Ethel Blue, “and the hepatica is supposed to be liver-shaped.”

“You have to know some physiology to recognize them,” said James gravely. “There’s where a doctor’s son has the advantage,” and he patted his chest.

“Their leaves seem much too juicy to be evergreen, but the hepatica does stay green all winter.”

“The ginger would make the better edging,” Helen decided, “because the leaves lie closer to the ground.”

“What are the blossoms?”

“The ginger has such a wee flower hiding under the leaves that it doesn’t count, but the hepatica has a beautiful little blue or purple flower at the top of a hairy scape.”

“A hairy what?” laughed Roger.

“A scape is a stem that grows up right from the or root-stock and carries only a flower not any leaves,” defined Helen.

“That’s a new one on me. I always thought a stem was a stem, whatever it carried,” said Roger.

“And a scape was a ‘grace’ or a ‘goat’ according to its activities,” concluded Tom.

“The hepatica would make a border that you wouldn’t have to renew all the time,” contributed Dorothy, who had been thinking so deeply that she had not heard a word of this interchange, and looked up, wondering why every one was laughing.

“Dorothy keeps her eye on the ball,” complimented James. “Have we decided on the background flowers for the wild bed?”

“Joe-Pye-Weed is tall enough,” offered James. “It’s way up over my head.”

“It wouldn’t cover the fence much; the blossom is handsome but the foliage is scanty.”

“There’s a feathery meadow-rue that is tall. The leaves are delicate.”

“I know it; it has a fine white blossom and it grows in damp places. That will be just right. Aren’t you going to have trouble with these wild plants that like different kinds of ground?”

“Perhaps we are,” Helen admitted. “Our garden is ‘middling’ dry, but we can keep the wet lovers moist by watering them more generously than the rest.”

“How about the watering systems of all these gardens, anyway? You have town water here and at Dorothy’s, but how about the new place?”

“The town water runs out as far as Mr. Emerson’s, luckily for us, and Mother says she’ll have the connection made as soon as the frost is out of the ground so the builders may have all they want for their work and I can have all I need for the garden there.”

“If you get that next field with the brook and you want to plant anything there you’ll have to dig some ditches for drainage.”

“I think I’ll keep up on the ridge that’s drained by nature.”

“That’s settled, then. We can’t do much planning about the new garden until we go out in a body and make our decisions on the spot,” said Margaret. “We’ll have to put in vegetables and flowers where they’d rather grow.”

“That’s what we’re trying to do here, only it’s on a small scale,” Roger reminded her. “Our whole garden is about a twentieth of the new one.”

“I shouldn’t wonder if we had to have some expert help with that,” guessed James, who had gardened enough at Glen Point not to be ashamed to confess ignorance now and then.

“Mr. Emerson has promised to talk it all over with me,” said Dorothy.

“Let’s see what there is at Dorothy’s present abode, then,” said Roger gayly, and he took another sheet of brown paper and began to place on it the position of the house and the existing borders. “Do I understand, madam, that you’re going to have a pink border here?”

“I am,” replied his cousin firmly, “both here and at the new place.”

“Life will take on a rosy hue for these young people if they can make it,” commented Della. “Pink flowers, a pink room is there anything else pink?”

“The name. Mother and I have decided on ‘Sweetbrier Lodge.’ Don’t you think it’s pretty?”

“Dandy,” approved Roger concisely, as he continued to draw. “Do you want to change any of the beds that were here last summer?” he asked.

“Mother said she liked their positions very well. This long, narrow one in front of the house is to be the pink one. I’ve got pink tulip bulbs in the ground now and there are some pink flowering shrubs weigelia and flowering almond already there against the lattice of the veranda. I’m going to work out a list of plants that will keep a pink bed blossoming all summer and we can use it in three places,” and she nodded dreamily to her cousins.

“We’ll do that, but I think it would be fun if each one of us tried out a new plant of some kind. Then we can find out which are most suitable for our needs next year. We can report on them to the Club when they come into bloom. It will save a lot of trouble if we tell what we’ve found out about what some plant likes in the way of soil and position and water and whether it is best to cut it back or to let it bloom all it wants to, and so on.”

“That’s a good idea. I hope Secretary Ethel Blue is taking notes of all these suggestions,” remarked Helen, who was the president of the Club.

Ethel Blue said she was, and Roger complimented her faithfulness in terms of extravagant absurdity.

“Your present lot of land has the best looking fencing in Rosemont, to my way of thinking,” approved Tom.

“What is it? I hardly remember myself,” said Dorothy thoughtfully.

“Why, across the front there’s a privet hedge, clipped low enough for your pink garden to be seen over it; and separating you from the Clarks’ is a row of tall, thick hydrangea bushes that are beauties as long as there are any leaves on them; and at the back there is osage orange to shut out that old dump; and on the other side is a row of small blue spruces.”

“That’s quite a showing of hedges all in one yard.” exclaimed Ethel Blue admiringly. “And I never noticed them at all!”

“At the new place Mother wants to try a barberry hedge. It doesn’t grow regularly, but each bush is handsome in itself because the branches droop gracefully, and the leaves are a good green and the clusters of red berries are striking.”

“The leaves turn red in the autumn and the whole effect is stunning,” contributed Della. “I saw one once in New England. They aren’t usual about here, and I should think it would be a beauty.”

“You can let it grow as tall as you like,” said James. “Your house is going to be above it on the knoll and look right over it, so you don’t need a low hedge or even a clipped one.”

“At the side and anywhere else where she thinks there ought to be a real fence she’s going to put honey locust.”

They all laughed.

“That spiny affair will be discouraging to visitors!” Helen exclaimed. “Why don’t you try hedges of gooseberries and currants and raspberries and blackberries around your garden?”

“That would be killing two birds with one stone, wouldn’t it!”

“You’ll have a real problem in landscape gardening over there,” said Margaret.

“The architect of the house will help on that. That is, he and Mother will decide exactly where the house is to be placed and how the driveway is to run.”

“There ought to be some shrubs climbing up the knoll,” advised Ethel Brown. “They’ll look well below the house and they’ll keep the bank from washing. I noticed this afternoon that the rains had been rather hard on it.”

“There are a lot of lovely shrubs you can put in just as soon as you’re sure the workmen won’t tramp them all down,” cried Ethel Blue eagerly. “That’s one thing I do know about because I went with Aunt Marion last year when she ordered some new bushes for our front yard.”

“Recite your lesson, kid,” commanded Roger briefly.

“There is the weigelia that Dorothy has in front of this house; and forsythia we forced its yellow blossoms last week, you know; and the flowering almond that has whitey-pinky-buttony blossoms.”

They laughed at Ethel’s description, but they listened attentively while she described the spiky white blossoms of deutzia and the winding white bands of the spiraea bridal wreath.

“I can see that bank with those white shrubs all in blossom, leaning toward the road and beckoning you in,” Ethel ended enthusiastically.

“I seem to see them myself,” remarked Tom, “and Dorothy can be sure that they won’t beckon in vain.”

“You’ll all be as welcome as daylight,” cried Dorothy.

“I hate to say anything that sounds like putting a damper on this outburst of imagination that Ethel Blue has just treated us to, but I’d like to inquire of Miss Smith whether she has any gardening tools,” said Roger, bringing them all to the ground with a bump.

“Miss Smith hasn’t one,” returned Dorothy, laughing. “You forget that we only moved in here last September and there hasn’t been need for any that we couldn’t borrow of you.”

“You’re perfectly welcome to them,” answered Roger, “but if we’re all going to do the gardening act there’ll be a scarcity if we don’t add to the number.”

“What do we need?”

“A rake and a hoe and a claw and a trowel and a spade and a heavy line with some pegs to do marking with.”

“We’ve found that it’s a comfort to your back to have another claw mounted on the end of a handle as long as a hoe,” contributed Margaret.

“Two claws,” Dorothy amended her list, isn’t many.”

“And a lot of dibbles.”


“Short flat sticks whittled to a point. You use them when you’re changing little plants from the to the hot bed or the hot bed to the garden.”

“Mother and I ought to have one set of tools here and one set at Sweetbrier Lodge,” decided Dorothy.

“We keep ours in the shed. I’m going to whitewash the corner where they belong and make it look as fine as a fiddle before the time comes to use them.”

“We have a shed here where we can keep them but at Sweetbrier there isn’t anything,” and Dorothy’s mouth dropped anxiously.

“We can build you a tool house,” Tom was offering when James interrupted him.

“If we can get a piano box there’s your toolhouse all made,” he suggested. “Cover it with tar paper so the rain won’t come in, and hang the front on hinges with a hasp and staple and padlock, and what better would you want?”

“Nothing,” answered Ethel Brown, seriously. Ethel Blue noted it down in her book and Roger promised to visit the local piano man and see what he could find.

“We haven’t finished deciding how we shall plant Dorothy’s yard behind this house,” Margaret reminded them.

“We shan’t attempt a vegetable garden here,” Dorothy said. “We’ll start one at the other place so that the soil will be in good condition next year. We’ll have a man to do the heavy work of the two places, he can bring over every morning whatever vegetables are ready for the day’s use.”

“You want more flowers in this yard, then?”

“You’ll laugh at what I want!”

“Don’t you forget what you promithed me,” piped up Dicky.

“That’s what I was going to tell them now. I’ve promised Dicky to plant a lot of sunflowers for his hens. He says Roger never has had space to plant enough for him.”

“True enough. Give him a big bed of them so he can have all the seeds he wants.”

“I’d like to have a wide strip across the back of the whole place, right in front of the osage orange hedge. They’ll cover the lower part that’s rather scraggly then everywhere else I want nasturtiums, climbing and dwarf and every color under the sun.”

“That’s a good choice for your yard because it’s awfully stony and nasturtiums don’t mind a little thing like that.”

“Then I want gourds over the trellis at the back door.”


“I saw them so much in the South that I want to try them. There’s one shape that makes a splendid dipper when it’s dried and you cut a hole in it; and there’s another kind just the size of a hen’s egg that I want for nest eggs for Dickey’s hens; and there’s the loofa full of fibre that you can use for a bath sponge; and there’s a pear-shaped one striped green and yellow that Mother likes for a darning ball; and there’s a sweet smelling one that is as fragrant as possible in your handkerchief case. There are some as big as buckets and some like base ball bats, but I don’t care for those.”

“What a collection,” applauded Ethel Brown.

“Beside that my idea of Japanese morning glories and a hop vine for our kitchen regions has no value at all,” smiled Helen.

“I’m going to have hops wherever the vines can find a place to climb at Sweetbrier,” Dorothy determined. “I love a hop vine, and it grows on forever.”

“James and I seem to be in the same condition. If we don’t start home we’ll go on talking forever,” Margaret complained humorously.

“There’s to be hot chocolate for us down stairs at half past four,” said Dorothy, jumping up and looking at a clock that was ticking industriously on a shelf. “Let’s go down and get it, and we’ll ask Mother to sing the funny old song of ‘The Four Seasons’ for us.”

“Why is it funny?” asked Ethel Blue.

“It’s a very old English song with queer spelling.”

“Something like mine?” demanded Della.

Ethel Blue kissed her.

“Never mind; Shakspere spelled his name in several different ways,” she said encouragingly, “Anyway, we can’t tell how this is spelled when Aunt Louise sings it.”

As they sat about the fire in the twilight drinking their chocolate and eating sandwiches made of nuts ground fine, mixed with mayonnaise and put on a crisp lettuce leaf between slices of whole wheat bread, Mrs. Smith sang the old English song to them.

“Springe is ycomen in,
Dappled lark singe;
Snow melteth,
Runnell pelteth,
Smelleth winde of newe buddinge.

“Summer is ycomen in,
Loude singe cucku;
Groweth seede,
Bloweth meade,
And springeth the weede newe.

“Autumne is ycomen in,
Ceres filleth horne;
Reaper swinketh,
Farmer drinketh,
Creaketh waine with newe corn.

“Winter is ycomen in,
With stormy sadde cheere;
In the paddocke,
Whistle ruddock,
Brighte sparke in the dead yeare.”

“That’s a good stanza to end with,” said Ethel Blue, as she bade her aunt “Good-bye.” “We’ve been talking about gardens and plants and flowers all the afternoon, and it would have seemed queer to put on a heavy coat to go home in if you hadn’t said ‘Winter is ycomen in.’”