Neogardens for Those with a Sinister Side and Site
Let's face it, not all neogardens are equal. Often we see the luxurious gardens
of Neopian Central in gardening magazines. Sometimes a garden from Meridell or
the fertile Mystery Island shows up. Even in the Lost Desert, with proper irrigation,
can fine foliage be coaxed out into something to be proud of. But what of those
who live in the Haunted Woods, or upon the Darigan Citadel?
Anyone who lives in these locations and has tried to grow a garden knows that
things don't quite go as planned. Your fresh white tulips droop and begin to
ooze goo, your expensive pond gets slimy, and your prize dwarf tree shrivels
up into a gnarled stumpy thing. This doesn't even touch the prolific vines,
spiky growths, and other things which go "snap" at you with pointy fangs that
grow on their own accord.
Well I say embrace this, and make it work for you instead of fighting it; after
all you chose to live in these locations. So here are some tips on how to get
started and make your garden the envy, or terror, of everyone on your block.
Tip #1 - Vines Are Good
Don't hack away at them and treat them like the enemy. These wriggling, land-grubbing
things may seem to just hinder you, but that is because you are fighting them
and not seeking to exploit them. Many don't realize what great ground cover
they are. Use them to hide the sickly brown soil, since ivy will only wither.
Also there is the added benefit that they will strangle anything you don't want
to grow, sometimes literally.
Word of Caution!
Never let yourself be surrounded by these vines as you work, many can move
quite suddenly and take you by surprise. Being armed with a large axe or other
sharp implement will be the prudent gardener's best friend.
Tip #2 - Spikes And Teeth Are Your Friends
You may not think it and they may not be the most appealing of features, but
as time passes you'll realize their value. Thorns, spikes and the occasional
toothed maw will act to keep unwanted guests from making themselves at home
in your garden.
Word of Caution!
A well armoured and protected gardener is a happy gardener. Chain maille
gauntlets and armour plated arms should keep you from getting any nasty pricks,
not to mention keeping all of your fingers intact.
Tip #3 - Colours
Chances are vibrant greens and stunning floral schemes will stick out in your
gardens, and loose their splendor due to the cloudy and sinister sky. Try instead
to match the environment and work with the subdued light. Slime greens, off
grays, deep purples, and dark blues work quite nicely. Even pallid pinks and
withered whites fit in. Now this does not mean you should avoid all vibrant
colours, but that is covered more in the next tip.
Word of Caution!
Make sure you check your local lore, secretive witch, or crazy old hermit
on what colours and scents might attract unwelcome pests. The last thing you
need is for your gloomacinths to attract a swarm of Darigan Buzzers, or for
your spiked dariberry vines to be eaten by gray Slorgs. However the occasional
mutant Fir should be left alone. They tend to match your garden and eat other
Tip #4 - Variety
Just because the landscape is gloomy, does not mean your garden must be. While
the selection for sinister and spooky flora is more limited than the more "normal"
plants, there is still great variety out there. The spark of orange that a lurking
negg muncher has can draw the eye to an otherwise dull patch of vines. Similarly,
the purple and yellow of a snake rose can be balanced with a nice surrounding
of darigan seaweed. The key is to be tasteful and not be too bland, nor to have
too much contrast.
Tip #5 - Furnishings
Not always a must, but sometimes you want to be able to sit out in your garden,
axe nearby, and relax. First you need to choose a clearing. Adding a corrupted
pool in the centre of this area will help, as the leaking tainted water will
create a radius of blight which even the most determined of twisting vines can't
stand. Once you have done this, pick out your furniture. I suggest keeping with
your garden theme, however simple stone benches or moss covered statues can
work if placed correctly. Do not go crazy with the number of furnishings you
choose, simplistic is best. Besides any garden gnomes you add may become possessed.
Word of Caution!
Make sure you have a guarantee from the salesperson who sold you your garden
furnishings that said items can withstand not only weathering, but outright
assaults by your plants. Many a Neopian has lost a stone statue to an irritated
Tip #6 - Tools
I know, why cover tools? All you really need is a shovel, hand spade, gardening
gloves, and good ol' determination, right? Wrong! Your garden is no typical
garden, and so you need more than your typical tools. Along with your normal
garden tools you will need an axe, body armour, and possibly a helmet. These
items can go a long way to keep you mulching your garden and not becoming mulch.
Tip #7 - Patience And Caution
Patience is vital, not only in the accrual work one is doing, but with the
time in between plantings. The demand for spooky and sinister plants is not
as great as the demand for "normal" plants, and so the spooky gardener may have
to hunt and search for a bit before they find that needed specimen. However
this downtime can be put to good use. Plotting world conquest, terrorizing others,
practicing your evil laugh, or just earning those Neopoints needed to buy the
plant are all good uses.
As for Caution, as I've stated so many times before, you are not working on
a normal garden. You need to think of things which other gardeners don't. Things
like "Will this branch try to strike me?" or "Did that negg muncher just eat
my Happy Negg?" You need to be cautious about what you are dealing with, and
considerate of your own needs. What if there was a break in the clouds and a
ray of sunlight fell on you? Would you be prepared to avoid burning into a cinder
if you are vampiric? What if you're of a ghostly persuasion? What extra steps
will you need to take? The good gardener will take time before each trip outside
to consider these things.
Finally here are some hardy plants which I reccomend that the spooky gardener
consider: Snake Roses, Spiked Dariberry Bushes, Twisting Vines, Negg Muncher,
Gloomacinth , Snakebush, Dragonbud, Wither Tree, Ooze Tulip, Curly Vines, Geraptiku
Fly Trap, Drabby Rose, Darigan Seaweed, Savage Daffodil, Gnarled Stump, and
Dreary Lily. There are, of course, other plants out there to choose from.
Follow these handy tips and you will be well on your way to getting on the
cover of "Sloth Worshipers Monthly" or "Better Groans and Gardens."
Now if you still really crave a "normal" garden, try importing soil
to an isolated location. If you keep it completely isolated from what is already
there, you may be able to keep the taint away. However I believe an indoor conservatory
or greenhouse will be easier for you to maintain.