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Women in Ag: Thinking Spring Gardening and My Favorite Zinnias
I’m starting to get spring gardening fever now that it’s March and the temperatures have been warming up in Minnesota. Even though we'll likely see a few more cold days and even some snow, which is typical for my neck of the woods, this doesn’t stop me from perusing the gardening catalogs and websites to plan what I’m going to plant in May and June.
One of my favorite flowers is the zinnia. I am drawn to the multitude of colors, and I love having several varieties available for fresh cut flowers in the summer. I also have quite a few areas around my house that get full sun, which is absolutely ideal for growing zinnias.
A couple of years ago, I conjured up the idea of having a garden bed that was basically all zinnias after, oddly enough, a conversation I had with someone on Twitter. I envisioned row after row of these gorgeous flowers – planting all different shapes and sizes and colors. I enlisted my husband’s help, we staked out an area for this purpose, and prepped the soil with plenty of manure and peat moss. For the past two summers, I’ve used this bed mostly for zinnias, just as I had originally envisioned. (Full disclosure: I also cheated and created an area in one of the corners for planting garlic, which is also a favorite of mine.)
The first year, after planting six different rows of zinnia seeds, a huge rain came and washed away much of my hard work. I set about re-seeding a few days later and my zinnia crop, while not perfect, was saved. Last year, not all the seeds germinated, but I still had a pretty decent zinnia harvest to admire and enjoy.
I’ve learned from this experiment – and this won’t come as a shock to those of us who garden or farm on a larger scale - that it’s not always as easy as planting seeds in the ground, watering them, and watching them grow. Sometimes weather interferes, sometimes the seeds don’t take, sometimes a rabbit (or two) will hop in the bed and have a nice little meal of tender plants.
Regardless, I will keep at it because I love the challenge of gardening, and I will always love having zinnias to enjoy.
Here are few of my favorite zinnia varieties – and the ones that have fared the best in my Zone 4 garden bed, which basically gets all sun all day long. I almost always plant my zinnias from seed – it’s inexpensive and relatively easy, if you don’t count the rabbits and occasional deluge of rain!
Purple Prince – 3-feet tall and absolutely stunning color.
Tequila Lime – As it sounds, this amazing lime green is so showy.
Senora – I love the salmon color of these beauties.
Dancing Girls – Small flowers with amazing pops of pinks, creams, and yellow.
Queen Lime Red – The color mix here is super vintage-y . . . and so pretty.
Magellan Cherry (comes in many other colors too) – A dwarf variety that grows in abundance and is packed with blooms.
I often blog about my gardens throughout the gardening season on my personal blog here, my Facebook page here, and my Instagram account (@MNGobbleGal). Hopefully you can stop by and say hello sometime!
Do you have a favorite flower that you plant every year in your garden?
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