An Urban Potager provides fresh cut flowers throughout the season for the home. In the past, I have grown my zinnias from seed late spring once the soil has warmed up from a long winter. It takes most of the summer season for them to bloom. Here, they are blooming in late fall(2011) with Russian Sage, Lime Light Hydrangea, and Bright LIghts Cosmos.
The past few years I have grown “Orange King Zinnias” since they would be blooming in the fall, and they were orange! I don’t know what it is about the colors orange, red and purple, but I seem to use that color scheme often in my yard. According to garden designers the colors red and orange are hard to use in the flower garden. My rebellious nature enjoys a challenge and sometimes I just like to throw colors, shapes , textures and odd combinations together to see what they look like. I do believe gardening is a form of art. You are painting with plants!
Zinnias are so easy to grow in your garden. They are butterfly magnets. I love to find a butterfly enjoying a zinnia on a hot sunny day. They are usually so engrossed in the zinnia flower that they don’t even notice you inching closer to take a photo of them.
This year I decided to grow my own zinnia mix. I searched for the largest red, orange and orange-yellow open-pollinated zinnias I could find. I wanted to create my own mix for seed saving of these colors.
I planted the zinnia seedlings in the garden early spring, and they were a nice size. I was worried they would not do too well since we had a chilly spring. They perked up and were blooming here in June. That was two months earlier than when I start them from seed in the garden,
Zinnias are wonderful planted with vegetables since beneficial insects enjoy visiting them throughout the garden. While you are harvesting your vegetables from your Urban Potager , you can pick some cut flowers for your vases!
I was determined to have big blooms for my vases. All my zinnia seed is open pollinated and sometimes you do get a surprise in your mixes if they are not isolated.
At first I was surprised since I only used open-pollinated red heirloom zinnias, “Meteor”, “Will Rogers”, and “Redman Super Cactus”. Since I started them earlier this year , they were blooming in June. I noticed I had this incredible color of dark pink thrown into my red zinnias. I was trying to create a red/orange/yellow mix, but thought what a delightful surprise.
At this point I can only recognize two of the zinnias I am growing. Heirloom “Will Rogers” zinnia is above.
The Meteor is quite large!
Zinnias are “cut & come again” flowers and make beautiful vases. The more you fill your vases, the more your plants will produce flowers till frost!