Friday, June 7, 2013

Heirloom Zinnias: Frost, Seed and Seedling

This spring, for the first time, I planted zinnias from seeds I saved myself. Last spring, I'd planted two varieties from Renee's Garden, a green heirloom zinnia and a "raspberry sorbet" variety. From July through October, we had the most amazing garden full of green and pink zinnias and butterflies. And then one night the frost came, and Capel with his camera caught and froze them ...

After that, I couldn't resist. I cut off a basket full of dead heads and saved them over the winter, in the garage. Nothing special. They just sat there in this basket all winter long.

A few weeks ago, maybe a month now, I crumbled up 3 or 4 seed heads in the garden, not knowing exactly what would happen. Now, I've got more seedlings than I know what to do with--springing up everywhere at the roots of the tulips and allium and poppies. Growing things from seeds is a more messy business, I think. But, in the end, something more satisfying to me. I like the anticipation of not knowing, now, what colors they might be. And watching them grow from nothing into giant surprises. 

It takes awhile and the waiting and growing are maybe not as beautiful, in some ways, as the flowering. But they'll sure be pretty when the allium are long done.

Author's note: the Capel photos of frost zinnias are copyright Capel States. These photos may not be copied, printed or re-posted without the express permission of the photographer.

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