Last year I had the amazing tall red zinnia in the back yard, but my favorites from the past have been bushy big orange ones in the vegetable garden. For some reason I don’t care for purplish-pink, but if you buy a variety six-pack, there always seem to be several of that color. And if you buy them before they are root-bound they won’t have started to bloom so you can’t even know what color you are setting out.
This year the two 4-inch potted zinnias I bought, in orange and yellow, are not remarkable. But the mix of six are very showy. They are huge; I think they are the “State Fair” variety. I guess I have broadened my mind, because I don’t even mind their hodgepodge of different colors by the driveway.
One I planted in the far corner of the back yard, sort of behind the lavender bush because there was an empty spot. I hadn’t gone to that corner of the garden for a week, and was surprised to see flowers poking out all the way to the sidewalk. It’s as though that dark pink zinnia went into contortions just so I would look at it.
In the front yard I planted some trailing orange zinnias, which I think look nicer flowing out of a pot, but they are cheery enough here. All through springtime when I was planting the front garden, I knew I was not getting the look I wanted. I didn’t have enough time or energy to comb the county for just the right colors and types of plants to create the perfect design.
But now that I have run across this poem — another one by Valerie Worth who wrote the “Library” poem — I have been encouraged to philosophize about the flowers and see a lesson in them. I know that I am very pleased every time I arrive home and they come into view all bright and in their proper places after all.
Zinnias, stout and stiff,
Stand no nonsense: their colors
Stare, their leaves
Grow straight out, their petals
Jut like clipped cardboard,
Round, in neat flat rings.
Even cut and bunched,
Arranged to please us
In the house, in water, they
Will hardly wilt—I know
Someone like zinnias; I wish
I were like zinnias.