Zinnias

This is a super easy and cheap way to add color to your garden.  But many people consider them too ordinary and undesirable.

Four years ago I purchased a seed packet for $1.99.  There is an area in our biggest flower bed that has a huge rock about 10″ under the topsoil.  It is 8′ x 4′.  That leaves a big barren gap.  So the zinnia seeds worked well there.

Zinnias have many positive qualities.  There’s a wide variety of colors available, the flowers last days and each plant continuously blooms.  They also last several days as a cut flowers in flower arrangements.  Zinnias are native to scrub and dry grassland in the southwest of the US, in Mexico and all the way into South America.  That explains why they do so well here.  They need a moderate amount of water, like the sun, and bloom through the fall.

Oddly, they are named to honor a botanist, Johann Gottfried Zinn, (1727 – 1759) who was head of the botanic garden of the University of Gottingen, in present day Germany.  The seeds originated in what is modern day Mexico.  When some seeds were sent to Europe, Zinn made them popular for a short time.

The first year when I cut off the faded flowers, I put them in a large paper bag.  Actually, by the end of the season, there were two bags full.  Then the next spring, I raked the soil lightly and dumped the spent flowers out onto the ground.  Then I stomped them into the soil and watered them.  This method was so fast and successful that I’ve used it every year and have not bought anymore seeds.  I’m not really that chintzy, just lazy.  This is easier to me than trying to scatter the seeds evenly.

This spring we added more soil from the compost heap.  So we got a surprise.  You can see the vine growing in with the zinnias.  It is now 6 ‘ long in all directions.

As you can see, we have cantalope.  There are at least four on the vines.

Another unexpected plant with the zinnias is the clammy weed.  A garden club friend had given me the seeds.  I just forgot that I planted them in this spot.

Even if these are common flowers, I think they can work well in almost any type of garden and add some cheerful color.

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”  Jim Rohn