Monday, September 03, 2007


I have often been called upon to teach the garden classes at the Nursery that I currently work at. These are 2 hours presentations on many topics from bulbs to curb appeal, lawns to container gardening. From time to time I have the opportunity to teach second graders about plants. The classes are always brief to accommodate their short attention spans and although my schedule is sometimes limited, I always look forward to these classes.
I love kids (I don't have any that I know of) and I love the wonderment they have of all things that grow. Often, I would use Zinnias as an example to speak on plant life. At the end of the class we would plant Zinnia seeds in 4''pots and the kids get to take them. I choose Zinnias because they germinate so fast and in no time at all they would be blooming. The kids get so excited to take them home. It was as if I'd given them something so amazing. It's truly beautiful how, a little pot of seeds, something so simple, brings such joy.

To this day I still enjoy growing Zinnias. They are practically fail safe. And like a kid, I still check the Zinnias I sow everyday to see which ones have germinated. Now at the beginning of September I go out daily to see what colours are in bloom. I marvel at these simple yet stately flowers that attract bees and butterflies and come in some many wonderful colours. And like a second grader, I still smile and feel joy when I see them grow.
I guess a 4" pot of Zinnias is pretty amazing!

Zinnias are a member of the Asteraceae Family and are named after the German Botanist Dr. Johann Zinn. He was the first to describe this Americas native. Through hybridization Zinnias come in many shapes and sizes. From inches tall to 5 footers and just about every colour other than true blue. Zinnias like full sun and great drainage. Deadheading every so often will keep them blooming as well as monthly applications of a general all purpose fertilizer. Full sun and great air circulations also is something they like and helps prevent any fungus amungus.


LostRoses said...

Bob, at the end of summer I always wish I had planted more zinnias! I've only got a few but I love them too, they're such a "coloring book" flower, no wonder the kids love them. Pretty cool to teach that class.

Oh, and "no kids that you know of?" LOL!

Kylee said...

I love zinnias, too, although I don't like how the bottoms of the plants tend to get crispy brown. I grew 'Zowie' this year and it was the only one of my zinnias that didn't do that. I saw what you said about air circulation and each grouping except one is just right out there in the open.
I love the different varieties that you have pictured here, especially the quilled-looking ones!

Laurie & Chris said...

The zinnias are so pretty. I have never planted these but I think next year I will have to get some. Have fun teaching your class. It sounds like fun to me :)

Shady Gardener said...

As a recently-retired second grade teacher (2nd graders are the "best," by the way!), I can affirm the wonder with which they absorb information about the world around them. We should never lose that wonder!

Zinnias are terrific flowers. I've never planted enough of them.

Layanee said...

Bob: I love zinnias! I have green ones this year! Just posted about them! Love all the colors though and like lostroses always wish I had planted year!

Dirty Fingernails said...

You know I don't know why I didn't plant any this year.. I had one volunteer and that is it.. I guess I let the season for them slip away, which is a shame.. They are great cut flowers. the more you cut, the more you get in return. Do you save all your seeds or do they mold on you before they are ripe?

Bob said...

Lostroses, Yes, It's very cool to teach classes. I feel very fortunate to be able to have the opportunity. Always glad to see you stop by, BOB

Kylee, In my area I have not had any problems with the Zinnias crisping.
Usually when the lower leaves of an annual does this it tends to be a cultural issue, ie., air circulation, Drying out to much, or wet leaves. I would not worry to much unless it unsightly. The flowers really carry the plant. All the zinnias in the picture are from one seed packet of Burpee's big tetra mix. A lot of flowers for $1.79.
All the best to you, BOB

laurie and chris, Zinnia are one of the easiest annuals to grow and produce flowers for months. The above comment has the hybrid I planted. It's one I'll plant again.
Take care, BOB

Shady gardener, Hope you are enjoying your new retirement. You are very lucky, The 2nd graders are a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Thanks for stopping by, Happy gardening, BOB

Layanee, The green zinnias are fun, they are great to plant with pinks, hot pinks, and raspberry coloured flowers, or you could also go with reds, oranges, yellows. They really look great by themselves or mixed with others.
Hoping you are enjoying your September, BOB

Dirty fingers, You are so right. It does seem the more you cut the more they bloom. I hope you'll get the chance to get some in the ground next spring.
Take care, BOB

lisa said...

Thank you for this post Bob! I grew zinnias on a whim for the first time this year, and I really like them! Now that you've shown me more of the colors that are available, I see zinnia seeds in my future!

Anita said...

Oh, I love zinnias, too! They are so colourful and definitively one of my favorite annuals! I have a big long bed full of them!

Best wishes, Anita

Kylee said...

Bob, do you know if 'Zowie' will be true to seed? I'm saving mine, but I don't know if that's what I'll get when I plant it next year.

Kylee said...

Okay, I just found my answer online already. No, they won't come true to seed, but it will be interesting to see what I DO get! :-)

KC MO Garden Guy said...

You kids!?!? I went down that path also and as far as I know I don't have any either. However I admire that you can teach kids. I don't have the patients for that. The world needs more patient people like you!
I should plant zinnias you have such beautiful ones. I grew them for year when I was growing up. Will have to put that on my list for next year. Do you start them in doors or plant the seeds outside? Thanks for sharing garden buddy!!

Anonymous said...

As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Amiable brief and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you on your information.