Zinnias In The Garden

It seems like every year I pay attention to a particular flower in the garden. Last year was the year of the cone flower (Echinacea) and the year before that I fell in love with the Dragon Wing Begonia.  This year I have noticed zinnias.

A bed of seed-planted zinnias in August

A bed of seed-planted zinnias in August

It’s not that I have just noticed the existence of any particular flower or plant, it’s that I have lent more appreciation to the particular species. Most of the ladies for whom I garden (including my wife, of course) ask for cut flowers to be available as much as possible.

One day, earlier in the summer, I was having a garden planning conversation with Patsy. She said, “I remember flowers that my grandmother grew for cutting—I can’t recall the name, but they were big and they smelled bad.” I couldn’t call the name, either, and we laughed at our mutual mental block.  The very next time I saw Patsy, we looked at each other and simultaneously said, “zinnias”.

Growing zinnias gives cut flowers in many vibrant colors

Growing zinnias gives cut flowers in many vibrant colors

Joel Todino, (who is one of the most dedicated vegetable gardeners I know) and I have had several discussions on the theory of “WTLD” which stands for “Whatever The Lady Desires.” We both understand the beneficial effects that adherence to this theory has on our lives. I also added into the discussion a quote from my father-in-law, Bob Hicks: “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” In case you are wondering how this applies to zinnias—Joel’s wife wants cut flowers and she loves zinnias.  Therefore, Joel grows zinnias every year.

Zinnias for "Whatever The Lady Desires"

Zinnias for “Whatever The Lady Desires”

At the front of his vegetable garden, Joel tills up a bed about eight feet wide and twenty feet long. In the late spring he opens up rows and plants lots and lots of zinnia seeds. The seeds are cheap and they grow quickly. Other older gardeners have informed me that one may purchase new zinnia seeds or also save the seeds from one year to the next.

In August, Joel’s zinnia bed looks like this. Look at the long stems just right for flower arrangements.

Some zinnia varieties have long stems which are ideal for cut flower arrangements

Some zinnia varieties have long stems which are ideal for cut flower arrangements

While visiting my younger clients (younger being under 60) I have noticed that they like zinnias also. The difference, though, is that instead of growing the plants in a flower bed from seed, they purchase the plants from the nursery. An August visit to Home Depot found the following:

 four-inch pots of zinnias at Home Depot

four-inch pots of zinnias at Home Depot

The larger pots of zinnias seem to be a popular item. I also noticed one in my wife’s back yard garden. I guess I should pay better attention to WTLD.

 Larger pots of zinnias at Home Depot

Larger pots of zinnias at Home Depot

I would bet that if your grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother had a flower bed she grew zinnias.

 Thanks for visiting John the plant Man

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Here’s an article on Joel in his garden in February:

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margaret
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 12:43:31

    My grandmother definitely grew Zinnias every year. I think she made a poultice from the roots and blooms. I remember she put something warm and gooey on a cloth and applied it to my chest.
    Dick planted zinnia seeds this year. We have a small patch of blooms in the back yard.

    Reply

  2. Bob Hicks
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 13:16:20

    John, Zinnias are all you describe. My first wife, Dekie’s mother, always had me plant some Zinnias (and Dahlias) for her to use as cut flowers. I do not know whether she ever painted any of them, but she sure did a job with the sunflowers. Maybe there is a painting of some Zinnias in Dekie’s attic where I believe there lie a few of her paintings.

    Another delightful Blog. I appreciate the quote from me. It is true and, like all truth, should be preached to the world. Bob

    Reply

  3. Marion McAbee
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 13:42:20

    John, from one of the older folks, I remember my mother growing a row in our vegetable garden. Being a young boy at the time, I don’t remember if she used them for cut flowers. They were just a part of the garden that made it look nice.
    And, I rarely think to plant them in our garden.
    Thanks, for the memories and the reminder for next Spring.

    Reply

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