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Thursday, November 15, 2018
Personal Reflections ... Photo ...

This was the first year that I tried to grow zinnia flowers from seed in the little garden patch that my landlord lets me tend during the spring and summer. I planted the seeds in a sunny, fertilized location in mid-April, and before long there were green zinnia shoots greeting me in the morning sun of early Spring. Unfortunately, within a month or two, the local insect population found out about these growing shoots, and just about devoured the whole crop within a few weeks. I tried spraying some stuff to stop them, but I didn’t want to use anything too poisonous, so I stuck with the more “organic” bug remedies. Unfortunately, these bugs were not impressed with my environmental concerns. They just wanted their zinnia leaves.

After a while, I realized that I just wasn’t going to grow zinnias in that spot, so I got out a little shovel and transplanted the handful of ragged stalks that still seemed potentially viable. Unfortunately, I had to put them in a more shady spot, although in an area where there seemed to be fewer insects. Some of the young plants floundered, but 4 or 5 managed to put out new leaves and carried on with their growth cycle — albeit at a slower rate.

The summer season here was not especially sunny, there were a lot of cloudy days, and so my mending zinnias were in no hurry to blossom. Finally, right around Labor Day, one plant managed to put out a decent looking purple blossom. It held itself up for admiration all of September and into October, but before long the colder breezes and shorter days started its inevitable decline. The growing season was coming to an end.

I rather admired this plant’s “spunk”, its ability to come back from a beating and then keep on growing in a compromised location. It didn’t even have a bud on it while other zinnias in the neighborhood displayed their glorious colors in June and July. But it kept going and finally did bring a tiny note of color to a back corner of my plot.

Here are some pix of this zinnia’s decline and fall. On the left, a mid-October shot; in the middle, it’s Election Day in early November, and the flower is drying up as its roots have died. Then a few weeks later, the first snowfall arrives and coats its brown remains.

Yea, it’s just a plant, but . . . still . . . I admire the “spirit of life” that this plant displayed, and feel a bit sad to see it come to an end. Will there be a new cycle of life next spring, will there be more zinnias in a better location in my little garden? I hope so. But for now, here’s my tribute to whatever it is that drives life forward. Yea, I’m a fan of science, and I know that there are answers to this question from the fields of organic chemistry and botany and evolutionary biology. Yet it still seems as though there is something more than that . . . and maybe there is, at least if we think so.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:43 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim, You are right: This Zinnia deserves to be given an award of some kind for standing upright to even the first snow. Marigolds are the same; they last until the first snow comes–or the first hard freeze–and then they die.

    The older I get the more I admire the”spirit of life” in all creatures. You are right about the idea that there “must be something more”. The older we get the more we accept the obvious instead of doubting it. I also have to admire your determination to get the Zinnia to grow, replanting it where it would be protected from the bugs. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — November 16, 2018 @ 7:25 pm

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