What’s In Bloom Wednesday 7/27/16

Every year I like to try new varieties of flower seeds and I have had some successes this season. If you like to grow flowers, then check these out.

Zinnias are my favorites and I grow as many as I can find space for! For picking, I like the Park’s Picks Mix, but they grow very tall and fall over when it rains or there is a wind. They looked a bit untidy last year in the gardens at the front of the house, so I did a little research to find something better behaved. Magellan Persian Carpet Mix sounded like a winner and it is! The plants are low-growing (about 12″) but have large blossoms. The seeds seemed a bit more difficult to start than zinnias usually are, but don’t they look great now?

Magellan Persian Mix

Another new zinnia for me is the Giant Cactus Mix. This golden one is a knockout!

Giant Cactus Mix

Usually I like the bright, bright colors, but check out these subtle cactus zinnia colors. They are so pretty in arrangements and look like a quilt in the making….

Apricot cactus zinnia

Peach cactus zinnia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunflowers are something that’s fun in the garden, but for a variety of reasons, I’ve had trouble getting them started in South Carolina. Then I remembered one I used to grow long ago, Teddy Bear Sunflowers. They started blooming about a week ago on sturdy, 36″ plants. The flowers can be cut, but almost as soon as they bloom for they go to seed quickly. Their upright form makes them a great addition to the flower border.

Teddy Bear Sunflowers

I am growing carnations from seeds and it’s slow going! I planted them in early May and as of today, I have about a dozen plants that are about 5″ high. Last week I staked them up as they all had single stems that were flopping over. They looked like they were forming buds and I was wondering whether to pinch them, as I do with young zinnia plants. The decision was taken away from me by a rabbit, I presume. Luckily s/he only ate the tops off. I love carnations and am hoping to get bunches of them sometime…. (They should be perennials here – at least I hope so!)

And now I just have to share some produce pictures. The big tomatoes are finally ripening… The unattractive one on the right seems to be a local favorite, Cherokee Purple. It is a very meaty, mellow tasting variety.

Late July produce

And look at this cantaloupe! She weighs over 6 pounds and her sister was over 5. We’re eating cantaloupe with every meal.

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What’s looking good in your gardens now?

Snapping & Snipping the Zinnias

I love zinnias! For me, they are the official flower of Summer. I bought two kinds to plant this year and planted them all over. I can never have too many zinnias! I always buy assorted colors because I enjoy the surprise of what comes up. I know a woman who buys the same three colors every Summer and I think “what’s the fun in that?”. When you have so many colors, cutting the flowers for arrangements is such a treat. But I’m not a Type A, for sure.

The zinnia plants are huge this year! Whether it’s the South Carolina weather or the fertilizer I apply once a week, many of them are over 5 feet tall.

Zinnia season

First I snap pictures of them. I am planning on designing some quits a la Melinda Bula and I need references. I have a quilt top using her zinnia pattern ready to quilt, but I have some ideas of my own to try.

Red zinnia

One of the zinnias is your garden variety (;-D), but the second kind I planted are called peppermint stick –  a variety I discovered years ago. It’s an heirloom that doesn’t germinate as well as the others, but I love the shibori-like look of them. Each one has its own pattern. Some have the tiniest marks

Barely Peppermint

and some have bold stripes

Bold peppermint

and this year a half and half colored one has appeared! Each flower is perfectly divided in half as is the middle. It’s a curious one for sure.

Half and half zinnia

There are some whose seeds I am going to collect for next year because their colors are so amazing. This magenta color doesn’t seem to photograph well – the color is much more intense than this…

Magenta zinnia

After photographing the flowers, then I snip them to bring indoors to enjoy. I’m wondering how many more week of Summer-like, zinnia friendly weather we have…