Friday, October 4, 2013

Happy Zinnias

Weekend temperatures are predicted to range between 39 and 55 degrees. I plan to finish a few outdoors chores on these cooler days. Hopefully, the zinnias, roses, and a few sprigs of lavender will continue to bloom in my yard for another week or so. If not, I will let them go. I rarely cover flowers but let nature have her way with frost.

 I planted zinnias because the bright flowers require little work but bloom all summer. For example, I planned to thin the plants but never did so. The zinnias didn't seem to mind. After one summer storm with wind, my husband and I were staking up tomato plants. Since the zinnias had also blown over, we wrapped twine around the flowers and two short stakes at either end of the plants to bring them back to an upright position. The hearty flowers never stopped blooming and grew even taller. Perhaps the closely planted stalks support each other in the wind.

Zinnias also remind me of my Mom. She struggled to grow vegetables and flowers in the hard clay soil around our home. She liked zinnias and frequently planted them. If I remember correctly, they were one of the flowers that thrived and bloomed. Toward the end of her life, Mom had a stand of red zinnias. After she passed away, I found a jar of zinnia seeds on an old table where she kept plants and gardening things. On the top of the jar, was a piece of masking tape with my name. She must have picked the seed heads early in the Fall before she got sick. On a sad dreary day, I took those seeds home and planted them in my garden. Twice I gathered red zinnia seeds and replanted them the following Spring. Then because red zinnias made me sad, I quit gathering the seeds. Eight or nine years have passed.

This year when I selected cucumber seeds at the garden center, the pictures of zinnias on seed packets tugged at my heart. I purchased and planted a packet of a large multicolored variety. The bright colors made pretty summer bouquets for several family dinners. In September, I put some in a Mason Jar and tied bright ribbon around the jar for my grandson's third birthday party. My sister remarked on the bright flowers and we talked a minute about Mom. Earlier this week I picked another bouquet of zinnias. My daughter, Kate says the flowers look happy. She is right. These zinnias make me happy and my Mom would have loved them.

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