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Neogardens for Those with a Sinister Side and Site

by jaezunapthenoz


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 smaller pests.

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 snakebush.

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.

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