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I Love Zinnias

| 9/30/2010 4:37:23 PM

A photo of Carolyn BinderSince moving to Cowlick Cottage Farm almost five years ago, I have moved from a mild interest in  manicured hedges and annual plantings of flower beds to a general obsession with growing fruits and vegetables that are not only great to look at, but also productive and edible. Once I saw the absolute beauty of a squash blossom that grew into a butternut squash that was transformed into a beautiful soup that fed my family and friends, there was no going back to impatiens and petunias. However, there is definitely a place for flowers on the farm.

Zinnias are beautifulThey attract beneficial insects, they smell wonderful, and they add their own beauty and charm to the garden. But flowers are not going to be pampered and spoiled at this farm! They need to be tough, resistant to pests, able to withstand heat, drought and heavy rains. And I am definitely not going to spend a lot of money on them. Knockout roses, daylilies, sages, and salvias add beauty and exuberance to my garden. But I think my favorites are the zinnias.

We have a 5 X 30 foot border garden that my husband tilled and I sowed with a few dollars worth of a blend of zinnia seeds this past spring.   The reward?  For the cost of a grocery store bouquet, we have enjoyed hundreds of zinnia blossoms all summer long.  Other than regular watering until the seedlings were a few inches tall, the only attention I give to them is to point my camera lens at their pretty faces and cut them to grace the kitchen counter or my desk at work.  Aren’t they pretty?

Pink zinnia 

Zinnias don’t need special care.

Orange zinnia 

Carolyn Binder
10/11/2010 12:36:12 PM

Hi zinnia lovers! Thanks for all your interesting comments. Whitehair - I am going to try saving some of my zinnia seeds this year. This is my second season saving vegetable seeds, and it's so satisfying to grow from your own. Sylvia - I love nasturtiums, too. I mix them amongst my veggies, and they scamper around and pop up whereever they feel like it. For my friends that struggle a bit with flower gardening, I encourage you to buy a couple of inexpensive packets of zinnia and nasturtium seeds in the springtime and give them a try. They really are easy to grow, and they add so much to the garden. Thanks, everyone! Carolyn

10/11/2010 9:03:28 AM

Nebraska Dave - I hear you!! Not so much the hardship of overcoming the farmers habit of straight rows, but the confusion of some shade, partial shade, filtered sun . . . . I see these beautiful garden pictures, dream of them for myself, and totally clueless on how to get there!!! So many of "plans" I find have all of these beautiful EXPENSIVE planting combinations! Oh well, practice makes a pretty garden right? Eventually? Happy Gardening!!

10/9/2010 7:22:45 AM

I also love zinnias. Have been planting a 60' row every year for approximately the past 10 years. All from the original two packets of seeds. I save dried flowers every fall. I separate the flower heads and store in a airtight jar for the winter. In spring I just plant, dried flower petals and seeds right from the jar. Water the seeds and thin as needed and - tada - beautiful flowers until a hard frost does them it.

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