Welcome to week fifteen of our column entitled Pretty Petals. Each week we will introduce you to a flower that we are working with here in the studio as well as flowers that we absolutely adore. Please join us every Thursday for some floral eye-candy where you will learn about a variety of very special blooms. This week we are growing zinnias in our garden and they are in full bloom – so let’s investigate the zinnia!
Pretty Petals – ZinniasZinnias, named in honour of German botanist Johann Gottfired Zinn (1727-1759), are members of the aster family. They are native to parts of the Southwestern United States, South America and Mexico.
Zinnias are used as a spectacular bedding plant here in Ontario. It is an annual plant producing colourful flowers all summer long. Zinnias must be replanted every year because our cold Canadian climate ends their life cycle. The beauty of this annual is that it can be grown from seed very easily, whether started indoors in early spring or planted directly into the soil outside once all threat of frost is over, it is a fast grower with almost guaranteed results.
Zinnias come in a plethora of colours ranging from soft shades of cream and pink to vivid hues of fushia, red and orange. These flowers are favoured by butterfly enthusiasts for their attracting qualities. The blooms can range in size from 1” to 4” in diameter and the stems can reach up to 3 feet high. No matter the size of the zinnia, it will always stand out in a floral arrangement because of its dense petal count and flat shape.
Caution must be exercised when designing with zinnias. The stem of this flower is hollow and is very easily crushed. Handtied bouquets are a tricky venture when including zinnias – it is best to incorporate them into the center part of the bouquet away from the hand that is holding the bouquet, as well as keeping the stem away from the binding medium (twine, ribbon, or tape).
I love driving through the country in July and August and seeing the flower gardens at the Mennonite farms. The rustic makeshift sheds at the end of the farm laneways with buckets of zinnias for sale, the “self-serve honour system”, and supporting the local community is a great outing everyone should experience.