Prize-Winning Zinnias from Next Door

 There are many reasons to love this jar of flowers. It is August, and even though I have this sinking feeling that summer is over, everything outside is lush and still basking in the thick heat this month seems to bring. None more-so than the zinnias in my sister-in-law Beth’s back garden right next door!

Every year she plants cutting flowers where I might sow a dozen basil plants, and, by this time of the year, she is awash in blossoms! At the beginning of June I look over the fence and am never optimistic about the little flowers I see resting low to the ground, ever turning into a jungle of color. Only weeks later, I am proved wrong yet again. The flowers are annuals, and my theory is when the little sprouts are planted, they are aware they have 1 short season to live, and they do it with desperate gusto, grabbing water and sun, and holding on till the bitter end. It is a life well-live. I’m sure there is a lesson there for me if I choose to acknowledge it!

Zinnias in a lovely vase in my kitchen window, (lovely wood-fired pot by Shawn Ireland)

Well, a day or two ago I noticed that the zinnias were everywhere; a zinnia invasion. I Thought it only right and proper to take some of these flowers off of Beth’s hands. She was responsible for way too much beauty and I needed to share the job. I went over to her house (with a scissors poised behind my back in anticipation!) and asked if I might  take a few sprigs? She no sooner said “yes” then I was out in the garden snipping to my heart’s content. There were two shades of red, a lovely pink, a snowy white, and a golden yellow to choose from. I decided not to choose and have some of everything.

Zinnia Jungle.

Did I mention that these flowers are prize-winning? Just this week they won two Blue ribbons at the Country Fair. The Country Fair is somewhat of an American tradition and never ceases to amaze and bewilder me. It is the place where a farmer gets the chance to show off his best cow, and prizes are awarded for the biggest pumpkin, and the most creatively carved vegetable!

Beth happen to win first place in two categories for her different strains of zinnias. It was news to her that she had planted several varieties, but was both amused and smitten to be the winner. They certainly look like winners to me and I am going to enjoy them everyday while I can.

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