My passion for gardening started with a wild idea that I could grow flowers for my wedding. Zinnias were a mainstay of this fantasy. I love that they were cheap to start from seed, would be blooming when I needed them and sounded fairly easy.

The Benary Salmon Zinnia pictured above was the one I fell in love with online. I loved the soft salmon rose color. The touch of coral.

Benary Salmon Zinnia

Benary Salmon Zinnia

I sowed seed a little late, mid May. They were just starting by my wedding date of August 1st. There weren’t a ton, maybe a dozen from my 10 plants. I had already known I would need to supplement so it wasn’t a huge disappointment. They kept going into November. Their show was amazing, I particularly loved the little yellow stamens that would peak out from the center, you can see what I’m talking about in the photo above. The ones I left to produce seed for next year developed beautiful variation in their petals.

zinnia(5)

Benary Salmon Zinnia left to go to seed

For reference, I don’t know how to edit photos. This is a raw image taken with a fancy borrowed camera (thanks Mom!).

Mixed Benary Salmon and Liliput White Zinnias

Mixed Benary Salmon and Liliput White Zinnias

In the photo above you can see some BRIGHT orange zinnias peaking out. All of the seed for this area came out of the same packet. These were the first ones to flower. So imagine me, checking the flowers every morning, poking around for buds. Waiting for that first bloom and BAM — orange. Halloween orange. At the time it was not at all funny. I gave up on thinking I could ever use my flowers for the big day.

zinnia(3)

When I was planning my garden and first started looking at zinnias, the dahlia types with a multitude of tightly packed petals were what appealed most to me. Some of the ones I loved the most didn’t look like that one bit. The one above would never end up on a seed suppliers website trying to sell you Benary zinnia seeds. But here it is — light, airy with a certain carefree quality to it. Perhaps even more beautiful than the “perfect” ones I had envisioned as I was sowing seed in the spring.