Category Archives: Zinnia

Love Zinnias…Mildew and All

One of the main goals

Of my garden

Is to have cutting flowers

All season long.

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And because the foundation

Of my garden

Is perennials

I rely on self seeding annuals

To fill in the gaps between

Perennial bloom cycles.

It starts in the spring

With Poppies and Larkspur

Then comes the heroes of summer

Cleome and Zinnias.

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Poppies, Larkspur and Cleome

All manage to return on their own.

They just show up and bloom their hearts out.

Zinnias return on their own

But to a lesser degree.

So I have to plant Zinnia seeds each year.

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The good thing about that

Is that I can time them…a bit.

I want zinnias blooming in the fall

Just as the Monarchs migrate to Mexico.

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Photo Credit “Devra” Mitchell

So I don’t plant the seeds

Until June.

I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur

After they go to seed

And plant Zinnias in their place.

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In my neck of the woods

I have until July 4th

To accomplish this.

Zinnias do have one bad characteristic.

They are prone to mildew.

Which is another reason

Not to plant them too early.

Spring rains will do a number on them for sure.

Since summer is the dry season around here

It’s perfect for growing zinnias.

We’ve had 7 1/2 ” of rain

In the last 3 weeks!

Mildew has arrived.

The plants are really ugly

But the flowers are the same

Sunny happy faces that I love.

They are perfect cutting flowers

Playing nice with all kinds of other blooms.

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It’s another life lesson of nature.

A crusty outside

Often accompanies

A loving heart.

Gail

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, Fall, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Larkspur, late summer garden, Poppy, Seed Catalogs, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized, Zinnia

TINY TREASURES

I was raised by depression era parents.

They were not over the top tight

But let’s just say I never leave a room

Without turning off the lights.

They were however

Extravagant in all the right places.

Loving, giving, sharing.

I’m a lucky lady.

What I experienced in childhood

Shows up over and over again

In my garden.

I guess that’s what you can attribute

My seed collecting to.

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I simply can’t throw anything away

That might turn into a plant

In someone else’s garden.

The problem is

In a garden the size of mine

That’s a ton of seeds.IMG_3316

You can’t just let them all drop to the ground

Or your garden will become

Even more of a jungle.

Now seeds are generally tiny

So you would think I’d have room

To store endless amounts.

That’s what I thought

Till it got totally out of control.

Last spring

I dug all of my seeds out

From the places I’ve stashed them

And put them in these clear jars.

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Plants like Purple Coneflower

And Gloriosa Daisies

Are just too big

Or too prickly

For the space I have.

Luckily my friend Martha

Has five acres that she is planting

To flowers for pollinators.

We garden together at Faith Farm

Twice a week.

So I’ve been taking

Grocery sacks full of deadheads

To her for the past several weeks.

I love finding good homes for things.

Right now my potting bench

Is covered with German Bearded Iris

Waiting to go back in the ground.

Some will go here

Others still need a home.

Zinnias are drying

Along side dahlias.

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Dahlias are a new challenge for me.

I really don’t know what I’m doing with them yet.

Much research ahead of me.

So what do I do with all of this.

Some goes into my garden

But most are

“Up for adoption”.

Because there is only

So much Larkspur

And Cockscomb

A garden can handle.

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I hope you will come by my house

This fall and make a few selections

From my seed inventory.

Because seeds need to be spread around

And given homes

Where they can take root.

Loving, giving, sharing.

Thanks Mom and Dad.

Gail

 

 

 

 

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Filed under cockscomb, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Nature, Perennials, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Uncategorized, Zinnia

THE SPIDERS ARE COMING

On Friday I commented

That I hadn’t seen a single

Orb Weaver Spider this year.

Well, I must have some sort of

Internal bug clock

Because Saturday morning I walk into the garden

And presto.

Not one,

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Not two

But I find four young orb spiders

Spinning their zig zaggy web.

 

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I love this harbinger of fall.

They have fascinated John and Debra

And me

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And the girls next door for years.

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Their presence is just one sign

That the season is winding down.

This happy bug is another sign

That fall is on it’s way.

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Signals

Signs

Something’s coming.

Watch.

Observe.

Learn.

And enjoy.

Gail

Here’s what all was blooming in my garden this week for the Sunday arrangements.

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Filed under Bugs, cleome, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Flower Arrangements, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Orb Weaver Spider, Praying Mantis, Sage, Uncategorized, Zinnia

DOG DAYS ARRANGING

Since I garden in the southern great plains

There are things I’ve come to expect

In late summer.

Grasshoppers come to mind.

 

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Photo credit Debra Mitchell

Humidity is definitely a factor.

And it is often accompanied

By heat.

As I look out onto my garden.

I almost feel like I need to apologize

To the brave plants

Basking in the heat of the day.

Yet, some plants seem to not just survive

But thrive.

I can’t take credit for too much planning

But I do know I want cutting flowers

All through the growing season.

So there is some intentionality

To my methods.

And as a result.

When I went to cut for my Sunday church bouquets

I was pleased to find plenty to pick.

So how does this work?

If there’s a star in my garden

All season long

It has to be Annabelle Hydrangea.

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I have a hedge of five planted at the east end.

They have bloomed since late May.

Starting with fluffy white blooms

And maturing to the lime green that I love

Since it goes so well with many other flowers.

I’ve cut them all season

And they still have lots to give.

That’s why I’ve added them to the corners of my garden house.

And last fall in a front bed.

I even wanted a hedge of them in front of our new fence

But lost out to John’s desire for more Crepe Myrtle.

The next jewel of late summer arrangements

Is tall garden phlox.

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If you cut it back in the spring

The blooms will be delayed until early July here

And they will still be going strong in August.

These two flowers alone

With their big blousey blooms

Are a great foundation for arrangements

Large and small.

Cleome is another gift this time of year.

It’s a funky flower that brings interest to both the garden

And arrangements.

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Cockscomb is just beginning to come into it’s own.

So start cutting and don’t stop

Or you’ll have a cockscomb only garden before you know it!

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Now fill in with some blues and purples in the Veronica family

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Add Zinnias

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Maxmillion Sunflowers

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And Dahias.

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And you have a “Dog Days” arrangement

That will make you smile each time you pass by.

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Like much in life

I can’t change the heat of August

But I can find joy in the blossoms

It produces.

Take care,

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, cockscomb, Dahlias, Flower Arrangements, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Maximillian Sunflower, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Veronica Spicata, Zinnia

SUMMER LOVE

There’s something about the flowers

Of late summer

That I love.

Maybe it’s because they are sturdy enough

To thrive in the normal August heat.

With the cool days

And unprecedented rain

We’ve been having

This year’s August garden

Is lush.

Out of control really.

The cockscomb is doing it’s usual thing.

Blooming EVERYWHERE

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Zinnias are beginning to bloom.

They didn’t get planted till around the 4th of July

So they are just now kicking in.

 

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Endless Summer hydrangea

Are putting on new blooms.

While their cousin Annabelle

Has never stopped.

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And Cleome is still going strong.

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The thing that I notice

Is how different each of these flowers is.

Their forms.

Their needs.

Their appearance.

Yet when you put them together

In a simple vase.

They not only

Play well together

They encourage one another.

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How can you not love a garden?

Gail

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Filed under cleome, cockscomb, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Perennials, Rain, self seeding annuals, Sunflowers, Uncategorized, Zinnia

PUTTERING AROUND

You can tell that spring is winding down.

The temperature is rising slightly.

There are fewer rainy days.

And the big garden jobs are done.

The few pots I have are planted.

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Tulips have been pulled.

And the plants I couldn’t resist

Have nestled into their new home.

Now comes the weekend

When there is time

To putter.

You know

Doing the little things

That you’ve been walking past

And ignoring

Till the time was right.

Digging and thinning the Iris.

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Hanging the sticky traps for those nasty thrip.

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Spreading the crushed egg shells around the Hosta

Hoping to discourage the slugs and snails.

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Planting the first Zinnias in the bare spots.

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Staking, trimming and caging the tomatoes.

It’s going to be a good tomato year

Since I’m all ready seeing blooms and tomatoes

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And finding time to see the world

Through my macro lens

Discovering a pollen laden bee

Inside a Hollyhock bloom.

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I so enjoy puttering.

Gail

P.S.  In my last blog I said that there was not a farmer in my generation.

I stand corrected and apologize.

My sister Ann took delivery on her new tractor this week.

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She’ll use it as she tends her 40 acre pecan grove.

Planted by our father.

Which she inherited

And is improving.

So she can pass it on

To the next generation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bees, Generations, hollyhocks, Hosta, Nature, spring, Tomato, Uncategorized, Zinnia

BACK IN THE GARDEN

I’ve been gone the last two weekends

Which meant

No time in the garden.

It takes a lot to get me out of the garden

Two fall weekends in a row.

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But a visit with Harper & Henry

And the out-of-state wedding

Of a dear friend’s son.

Collided

Leaving me out of the garden.

While we were gone

We got a big rain

Six inches of rain

To be exact.

So the ground is just right

For fall rituals.

Moving things

Pulling up spent Cockscomb

And just generally puttering around.

This is the time of year

Where the present

And the future meet.

In the garden.

Spring flowering bulbs

Have started to arrive.

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Though the soil isn’t quite cool enough

To bury them yet.

My potting bench is covered with

Little containers of seeds.

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Glimpses of things to come.

And the Dahlias hit their stride.

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But the action isn’t all outside

Normally this time of the year I’m making pesto.

But our hot summer

Combined with my negligence in keeping the basil from bolting

Landed me with tons of bitter basil.

So there’s no pesto this year.

Instead I’m planning to freeze

Cubes of herb butter

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For winter cooking.

And the kitchen windowsill is filled with

Tomatoes in different stages of ripening.

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It’s a defensive move

Against whatever four-legged devil

Is dining on my almost ripe tomatoes

Every night.

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They get them just before they ripen on the vine.

So I’ve figured out just how long I can leave them

Then pick them before they are stolen.

Now I don’t mind sharing a few

But they are taking more than their fair share.

October

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You just can’t beat it

For perfect days in the garden

For relishing in a season well spent

And planning for the future

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bees, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Herbs, Seeds, Tomato, Uncategorized, Zinnia

ARRANGEMENTS

One of the joys of having abundant flowers

Is sharing them.

I don’t have a lot of exotic plants.

But I have flowers.

And fall brings arm loads

Of late summer’s glory.

Cockscomb is the staple

This time of year.

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And the beginning

Of every arrangement I make.

If you cut it long

You’ll have lots of branches

To hold other less stable stem in place.

And the color

Just oozes a fall feeling.

I’ve nominated myself

In-house florist

At church

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As well as Loaves & Fishes.

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They are willing to indulge me

And let me bring flowers each week.

Since friends drop vases by

When they clean out their cabinets.

I always have a good supply.

You can create reasons

For other flower fairy gifts.

This week included

A “thank you” bouquet

To a fellow L & F board member

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And a “hello” bouquet

To a new family

Moving on the block.

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It’s a simple way

To keep the cockscomb

Trimmed away from the path

And to share the glory of the season.

Someday when life slows down.

I’d love to do this all the time.

Enjoy the week.

Gail

“I must have flowers always and always.”

Claude Monet

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, cockscomb, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Uncategorized, Zinnia

EDITING DAYS

You may not know this

But there are two “gardening deadlines”

Here in my Zone 7 garden

That fall on the 4th of July.

I’ve learned over the years

That the 4th of July is the last time

To plant Zinnias for fall bloom.

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I know

Most of you planted yours weeks

If not months ago.

In my over-planted piece of this planet

I don’t have space for Zinnias

Until I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur

That have gone to seed.

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Yesterday I went a little beyond just pulling up the dead stuff.

I went a little crazy.

My garden is now 11 years old.

As a result

It’s overgrown in may places.

So along with the waning Poppies and Larkspur

I dug up two Rose bushes

About a dozen blue Veronica Spicata

Several white Iris

Some Purple Coneflower

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An a lonely Gloriosa Daisy or two.

Normally, I wouldn’t excavate quite so much

Especially since I have no idea who will adopt these plants

So, I’ve taken a new approach.

Let’s call it the “Urban Dumpster Method”.

In cities if you want to get rid of something

Just lean it against your dumpster

It will disappear long before

The Sanitation Department has a chance.

So this afternoon

I put my garden abundance on the curb

With a sign saying

“Free Plants

Take what you want – need a sunny home”.

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When I last checked they were all still there.

I’m hoping for a swarm of midnight gardeners.

To take this stuff off my hands.

So I’ll feel good when I attack the rest of the garden

Tomorrow.

The second deadline has to do with mums.

If you have the old-fashioned kind

That grow and grow

This is the time to give them one last

Harsh trim

So that they will be thick and full

Come fall.

May have to fudge on this one a bit.

That’s what I love about gardening.

There’s always grace.

Gail

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Filed under Calla Lily, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Perennials, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, roses, Uncategorized, Veronica Spicata, Zinnia

ARRANGING THINGS

It’s the height of summer here.

Endless sunny days.

And because we had all those wonderful

Badly needed rainy days.

The humidity is back

Big-time.

So what’s a gardener to do.

This time of the year is basically for maintenance.

Deadheading and weeding and watering are the order of most days.

I love it because it can all be done in little snippets of time.

But there is one more activity for high summer.

Flower arranging.

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For some reason I don’t bring a lot of flowers into my house.

I have a few here and there

But mostly we enjoy them from the inside of the house

Or on the morning garden walk.

So it’s great fun

When I have a reason to make flower arrangements.

Friday night was just such a reason.

We were one of several host couples

For a shower for our minister Andrew

And his bride to be Katie.

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Now it’s too hot to have the party in my garden

So it was held at a local lodge.

Decades ago it was part of an amusement park

And has been lovingly restored.

So along with chamber music

Yummy food

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Including crab claws In honor of Andrew’s Maryland roots

Family from home

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Church members

And local friends

We needed flower arrangements

And lots of them – 26 to be exact.

First order of business

Find 26 vases.

I’m embarrassed to say that 25 of them

Were alive and well living in my garden house!

The schedule went like this.

Weekend before dig out all the vases

And wash them

Tuesday the vases were taped with cross hatch pattern

To hold the flowers in place.

It was also the day to cut Euonymous.

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And Hydrangeas.

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They last for days if you sear the end as soon as you cut it

And let them rest in buckets of water up to their necks.

Wednesday morning Linda came to help with the harvest.

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We cut buckets of Phlox, Purple Coneflower, Dahlia & Dusty Miller

We added bits of White Balloon Flower, Veronica Spicata, Hellebore leaves and blooms.

Linda and Virginia each cut a bucket of Zinnias – one fuchsia and one pale pink.

I even used the blooms on the radishes that should have been pulled long ago.

Wednesday night the arranging began.

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Linda, David, Mary and Gay came on Friday morning to complete the arranging

And haul it all to the lodge.

It takes a village!

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Friday was a warm evening.

Not just the temperature.

But the people, the place and the occasion.

There’s something wonderful about small towns.

When I looked around the room

There were people I had known for decades.

We have raised our children together.

We have buried our parents together.

We have thrown a million wedding and baby showers together.

We have welcomed newcomers together.

Those newcomers have become new friends.

What is there to do in a garden

In the mid- summer heat?

Share it.

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Photo Credit David Meara

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Bridal Showers, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Euonymus, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Radishes, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Vases, Veronica Spicata, Wedding Flowers, Zinnia