Since moving to Cowlick Cottage Farm almost five years ago, I have moved from a basic appreciation of manicured hedges and annual plantings of flower beds to a general obsession with growing fruits and vegetables that are not only great to look at, but also productive and edible. Once I saw the absolute beauty of a squash blossom that grew into a butternut squash that was transformed into a beautiful soup that fed my family and friends, there was no going back to impatiens and petunias. However, there is definitely a place for flowers on the farm. They attract beneficial insects, they smell wonderful, and they add their own beauty and charm to the garden. But they are not going to be pampered and spoiled at this farm! They need to be tough, pest resistant, able to withstand heat, drought and heavy rains. And I am definitely not going to spend a lot of money on them. Knockout roses, daylilies, sages, and salvias add beauty and exuberance to the garden. But I think my favorites are the zinnias.
We have a 5 X 30 foot border garden that my husband tilled and I sowed with a few dollars worth of a blend of zinnia seeds this past spring. The reward? For the cost of one grocery store bouquet, we have enjoyed hundreds of zinnia blossoms all summer long. Other than regular watering until the seedlings were a few inches tall, the only attention I give to them is to point my camera lens at their pretty faces and cut them to grace the kitchen counter or my desk at work. Aren’t they pretty?