You win! You're awesome.
Just like classic solitaire, Flower Garden solitaire uses a plain old 52 card deck. This can be a relief for some because having more cards can make the game more complicated and harder to win. No one is sure why this game is called Flower Garden, but all the terms for it are all gardening related.
Classic Solitaire itself, also known as Patience in the UK, is a classic card game that has survived over the years. It’s fairly simplistic in nature. Back when computers first started becoming a household item they were stocked with a few basic games to play. Solitaire was one of them.
Solitaire has moved from a rainy day card game to being a good way to spend time. People often find themselves pulling it up on their computer to kill time or to have something to do. It’s easy to get hooked on the game because it employs just enough strategy to keep us enthralled.
There are a plethora of variations on solitaire, and many of them are now available online in a playable format. This can be exciting because it’s quicker and easier to play and there’s no set up time. It’s quite amazing what is available online these days and funny how it can be a casual card players dream.
So Flower Garden doesn’t start out like your usual game of solitaire, the cards are laid out much differently.
Usually, with classic solitaire, there are four Aces that make up the foundation. Then there are seven columns laid out. The first has one card face up, the second has two cards with the second face up, and so on until there are seven columns. Then there is the stock to draw from and the reserve to the left.
When it comes to Flower Garden it can look a bit more complicated. Just because the layout is unfamiliar doesn’t mean the game will be difficult to understand. On the contrary, this format can be a bit more helpful to the overall endgame.
36 of the available playing cards are dealt evenly into six columns. These are referred to as the “flower bed” within this game. The bottom card of each column is moveable and playable to put into the foundation.
There are four foundation spots left open for the Aces as they become available. All remanding cards are fanned out at the bottom in the bouquet. They are available to play, but they cannot have cards added to once they are removed.
Of course the goal, as with most solitaire games, is to get all of the playing cards into the foundation to win. This can be difficult because most cards can’t be moved until they are accessible as the bottom card of each column in the flower bed.
The foundations are built up from Ace to King, so if you have a 2 of Spades you can only square it with a 3 of Spades, then a 4 of Spades until you reach King. Inversely, the flower bed is counted downward by any suit. When a whole column has been removed it can be replaced with any card.
The bouquet has cards you can also put into the foundation or the flower bed, but once you do they’re stuck taking up space. You ultimately want to get all four Aces up in the foundation as fast you can.
The longer you don’t have your Aces in play, the less opportunity you have to build up the foundation and get rid of extraneous cards in the flower bed or the bouquet. If the Aces are near the top of the columns they can be harder to get to, and there will be less room to maneuver cards into the foundation.
That’s the part of this version of solitaire that can be very frustrating. People find themselves caught with no room to move and no accessible cards in play.
The columns are allowed to be built down in full suits if possible. The problem is that as you build your foundation you run out of certain numbers. That can be difficult to maneuver if you haven’t pulled out all your aces, which means you’ll be trying to get to an ace but could have no workable threes to attach a two or four to.
Sometimes you’ll find yourself having to go backwards three or four moves. Though you cannot remove a card from the foundation once it’s been placed there and you cannot move any cards back into the reserve.
This can mean you end up with more cards in the flower bed to move around which can make it harder to continue to fill up your foundation.
Keep as many cards in your reserve as you can, especially until you have your foundation filled up with all four of your Aces. In fact, don’t do anything until you have freed your Aces.
Being patient and teasing out the Aces from the flower bed is important because you don’t want to get distracted by the foundation. It can seem like a great idea to loosen up your overall amount of cards in play by stacking in those twos and threes that you come across for the Aces already in place.
This is not a good idea because then you won’t have those twos or threes to stack up in sequence in the columns of the flower bed. Without those numbers to stack up you can’t keep a continuous flow, which means your aces can get trapped behind a number that has no corresponding one to attach it to. Therefore you’ve boxed in one of your Aces.
Once you have all Aces in the foundation, then you can start having a little more fun.
It’s best to keep in mind that you should be trying to keep all foundation stacks equal. This is again, because you don’t want to be lost without a number you might need. Having them remain equal means you’ll be able to maneuver the cards you need.
It is also important to keep in mind where your Kings are. If your King is not at the top of a column, they are impossible to move with the Aces in the foundation. That’s why if there are any Kings in the reserve you keep them there.
Remember how earlier it was said try not to touch your reserve? That’s still a good idea unless you know you’re using them to help put them in the foundation immediately or just after your move.
Flower Garden can be so difficult because it requires a lot of strategic thinking. Not only do you need a severe amount of forethought, you need to pay attention to all your major pieces on the board. It’s a bit like chess in that way.
Just keep a clear head and watch the numbers add up equally in the foundation. And remember, some games are just not winnable. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just try and see it as a learning session.
Often there are terms which are well known to the average card player. It is important to know the right terminology so that you can play the game properly and be informed enough to know what you’re talking about.
Available Cards: Cards that have no restrictions and can be played.
Base Card: The first card that can be placed down to start playing; like the Aces in the foundation.
Marriage: Placing a card in the same suit on the next number, lower or higher.
Released Cards: When you use a topmost card and the one beneath becomes accessible.
Suitable Cards: Cards that fit into the game and can be played from the position that you’re in.
Fanned: The cards are spread out in a fan like shape, overlapping over one another. The card suits and numbers can still be seen.
Foundation: The topmost row in front of you. It’s where you start squaring up your cards from Ace onwards.
Reserve (Boquet): The cards pulled from the stock available to play.
Squared: The cards are stacked in a way that the edges are aligned with one another.
Stock: The pile of cards from which you draw your next card.
Tableau (Garden): The row of cards in front of you from which you start your game. Some are face up, some are face down, and you sort them.
Waste: The pile of cards where the stock goes after you’ve drawn your cards into play.
Instructions for building are pretty straight-forward. Here are a few examples:
By Suit: Cards have to be placed on their same suit.
By Suit Sequence: Cards have to be placed on their same suit in order of numbers.
By Color: Cards have to be placed on like colors.
By Alternating Colors: Cards have to be placed back and forth on alternating colors.
Brigade- This is considered to be a bit of an easier version of Flower Garden. The Aces start immediately in the foundation and the flower bed has more columns of fewer playing cards.
Gloucestershire- This is the same as Flower Garden except with two decks of playing cards instead of the usual one.
Northwest Territory- Simply put this is just a cross between Flower Garden and Klondike solitaire games.
Klondike Territory- A slightly more difficult cross between Flower Garden and Klondike
Stonewall- Quite similar to Flower Garden, but some cards are started out as face down. You can move sequences, but everything has to be in alternate colors, making this game more difficult to play.
Wildflower- It is a variation of Flower Garden, but instead of moving one single card at a time you can move a full sequence of the same suit together at once.
Is Flower Garden supposed to be harder than Classic Solitaire?
Yes, Flower Garden is designed to be more difficult than solitaire. Usually the variations of the original game are meant to be more challenging. This is because for those who’ve mastered solitaire, they want to be able to move forward and have to work harder to win.
Solitaire is a great basis to start for all of these card games, and a wonderful way to teach strategy.
Why are the cards in the flower bed only moveable by descending numbers?
This is to give it a bit more of a challenge. Other variations of Flower Garden include rules such as the cards must be in alternating colors. Having them only need to be matched by numbers actually gives the player a little more leeway in moving the playing cards around. Then you must only have cards available to count down instead of them also in different colors.
Can I start with the Aces already in the foundation?
Yes, you can, but then you wouldn’t be playing Flower Garden. Instead, you’d be playing a variation on it called Brigade. It is a good way to start if you feel like Flower Garden is a bit too advanced for you.
What do I do with the cards in the bouquet?
The cards in the Bouquet should be utilized quite carefully. Once a card is removed their spot cannot be refilled. This puts more cards into play on the flower bed yes, but can overcomplicate matters that don’t need to be complicated.
Pull the Aces first, obviously, and leave any Kings locked up tight for as long as you can. Obviously, sometimes the only move forward will be to pull a card from the bouquet. Be sure you know your next few moves and that it won’t have hindered your progress forward.
It can be satisfying to find a card that helps free one you’ve needed for a while, only to realize you require that very card a few moves onward. Then you are just stuck once more.