Planting the summer garden in front of the store this year was more than anything. Every supplier of seasonal crops has been inundated with customers from the first spring. Plants that I had custom grown, marked as sold, and roped down for garden planting in June were a constant target of gardeners who wanted both beauty and interest in their exteriors in early May. My plants needed feeding, watering and a watchful eye. My breeder sold his entire June harvest in May. He wasn’t the only one. Amazing that. No wonder my stash of reserved plants looked inviting. I’m not a fan of tropical plants in cold soils. However, the decision to wait for the planting had ramifications. Needless to say, we spent the entire month of June searching for material, and July was even worse. When all our clients’ work was done, it was good until July. So we planted the front gardens with what was left of what we had grown to measure. Different varieties of white zinnias and Angelonia “Steel Blue” would almost fill these steel planters.
We found some white petunias for the border and mixed them with the double pink cascade grandiflora petunia “Orchid Mist” – also grown especially for us. These ruffled petunia poufs are reminiscent of the tissue paper flowers made for homecoming in the 1960s. Given this association, it’s easy to see why these plants weren’t picked up earlier. Your growing habit is awkward, lanky, and careless. The dead flowers stay on the plants for a long time. Despite their shortcomings, I like double petunias. Every seasonal plant has its place in the sun. Paired with a stiff growing plant that can provide structure and support, double petunias in pink or white can be lovely.
Unsurprisingly, we still had tall growing zinnias available in June. They cannot be planted too early in the greenhouse as they will grow quickly after the seed has germinated. Timing the harvest, when the weather permits and people want to shop, is the black art of greenhouse growing. No planting crew wants to bring annuals to a job site that is 2 feet tall in a 4 inch pot. I want my zinnias to be short and stocky. The large growing zinnias were only available later in the planting season. Few gardeners have the self-discipline to delay planting a summer container until the zinnias are available. Those who risked knowing the other plants could be sold out by then. I am familiar with this logistical problem. When zinnias have grown well and are in a perfect stage to transplant, they will be green. That means the plants are not blooming. A bank of zinnias is an ocean of green leaves. If you are looking for a specific color then you need to read the tags. All of these things work against the zinnias flying out the door. It’s not actually a may-ready plant.
As easy as the large-flowered tall zinnias are supposed to germinate and grow from seeds, they are relentless heirs. If interested, read the following from the Florists’ Handbook of Plant Diseases, pages 1-31. common fungal and bacterial diseases of zinnias Some growers do not want any part of these problems and have chosen to only grow disease resistant strains like the Profusion range. Gardeners are also not interested in a year of high maintenance. Lisa M, who takes excellent care of our seasonal plants and everything that grows on the storefront, selectively prunes to improve air circulation, crushes the sucking insects (especially grasshoppers) that spread viruses and diseases through their chewing, and removes all leaves showing signs of bacterial leaf spots – and so on.
A well-grown zinnia is a sure sign of midsummer in the garden. They don’t call the medium-sized zinnias “cut and come back” for nothing. They last as long as cut flowers. Floret Flowers cultivates them with the semi-trailer load for the cut flower trade. Flowery flowers They come in almost every color imaginable, except blue. They are old-fashioned flowers for sure. It is the only flower that I can clearly remember from my mother’s garden about 60 years ago. Yes, the dahlia flower strains look stiff and awkward, but how much I love their down-to-earth cheer and charm.
They are not noticeable at all like roses, dahlias, foxgloves, peonies, delphiniums or orchids. They look best with daisies, sunflowers, feverfew and cosmos. The vegetable garden is an ideal place for them. It is difficult to plant them meadow style with other loosely growing seasonal plants in my zone as they get annoyed up close. Once you are unable to reach them to clean them up, the leaf spot, powdery mildew, and other mess will start consuming them. One day I’ll try them with Amni Majus, Gaura Lindheimeri or the grass Bouteloua gracilis “Blond ambition”. The Angelonia is a pretty decent partner. I would do that again.
A few weeks ago, the boxwood got its annual haircut in front of the store. The precision with which this is done is amazing. M’s crew is a talented lot with an impeccable instinct for ups and downs, true and sincere. It’s like the horizon line is embedded in their genes. The geometry of the boxwood is in sharp contrast to the zinnias. Only a cleverly pruned box hedge could make a zinnia plant look graceful.
However, the real purpose of this post is the weather. This year was very hot and dry. Overall, the humidity was low. Perfect conditions for growing great zinnias. Perfect conditions for growing all types of seasonal crops that indulge in dry heat. People may wither, but the season’s flowers are looking very good this year. If you happened to have planted zinnias, this planting is exceptional right now. Since no gardener is in control of the weather, the big idea is to spend some time with the National Meteorological Service about forecasting the summer in your area before choosing what to plant. The perfect time to grow zinnias is when a summer season is perfect to grow them. If the weather forecast sounds too boring, plant plenty of everything. You have to hit the jackpot with something.
These good years for crocuses, magnolias, roses and hydrangeas are unforgettable. Memorable, because no gardener can count on a good year. All those horrible years for zinnias don’t stop me from planting them. But this year it was almost all I had available to plant. I do not consider the natural world to be a thing. I was lucky this year. Lime and yellow zinnias
pink and orange zinnias
Benary Giant Orange Zinnia
Pot full of zinnia “Zesty Fuchsia”
Container of Zinnia Magellan Pink
If there’s no other reason, check out the zinnias. You are very special this year.
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