Saving Seeds: Zinnia

Harry introduced me to the exuberant Zinnia. Their bold, enduring colorful flowers bloom all summer until the frost comes. I try to extend the season by covering them with row cover or plastic and sometimes get an extra week or two of color. Hummingbirds and butterflies come to Zinnia blossoms and I feel the love flowing from my heart to fly with them.

Jenna passed these seeds on to me last fall after she watched my Zinnia’s growing last summer. Her job on The Hill is to manage security. She strides across the fields with strength and confidence. Like the Zinnia, Jenna is tough and beautiful. We shared a number of pleasant flower conversations.

The seeds are sorted by blossom color. Seeds with no petals are groups together as mixed colors. One of the sections is for immature, unformed seeds. I’m planning a bold red Zinnia section in the flower garden.

Zinnia are said to represent thoughts of forgotten friends. It makes it somewhat fitting to offer the rest of the seeds at the Friends of The Hill Plant Sale andSwap on May 19th.

Zinnia are happiest when planted by seed directly into the warm soil. They are fussy transplants, but will make it into the garden with some attention and coddling. These little babies are from two plantings. The seeds were saved from my Zinnia and I don’t know if the parents are open pollinated or hybrid. Time will tell.

I choose beauty and color to bring solace in this hard, sometimes hurtful world. Turning toward joy, the seeds call to be planted, to germinate, to burst forth reaching for the light.

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Life Springs Forth

I left off blogging last summer when I got the call that my dad was dying. Now the long Maine winter is over, spring has officially arrived and the garden calls me back. St. Francis is peeking out from under the snow and the solar lights that stayed out all winter get enough light to shine at night again.

I’m growing tomato seedlings to sell this spring. Grandma Mary’s paste tomato is a reliable and meaty favorite. It cooks down to a rich sauce and make an outstanding dried tomato. Cosmonaut Volkov tomato is hands down my favorite red eating tomato. It ripens in mid to late August and keeps pumping out juicy good sized fruit until frost.

Alyssum seedling are happy and thriving. They are a lovely frothy white flower I use to accent in potted flower containers. In the garden they make a sweet border.

In the cellar window, the onions and seed lettuce are doing well. The onions are second year seed and germinated much better than I had expected. I’m growing open pollinated Ailsa Craig and Borretana Cipolini and a hybrid variety called Talon. We are still eating our fresh stored Talon onions.

I’m growing out a lettuce seed crop this year. This red leaf lettuce is from my saved seed. The 25 most vigorous seedling will be selected and grown for seed. I worked on Will Bonsall’s seed farm in Industry for a couple of seasons and learned how to grow out plants specifically for seed saving. The lettuce plants are started early to give them enough time to fully mature and develop fully ripened seeds.

Here is the view of the snow covered garden in September before the frost. Soothe my soul with color and abundance.

With gratitude, with love and joy.

End of the Month View: July

Since it’s not yet time for the End of the  Month View for August, I figured I’m still somewhat timely for the July View.

July is a time of deep heat and fullness. The corn towers over our heads and the tassels are showing!  There are two gigantic sunflowers reaching towards the sky. It must be the fertility of the chicken coop that stood there for so many years. 

The blue barrel holds the comfrey nettle kelp compost tea. The plants drink it up and keep on growing! The nettles are getting their second growth.  Nettle is a super compost ingredient. Each cutting gets layered into the compost heap. 

Hollyhocks abound! I counted five different colors.  Honey bees and hummingbirds visit frequently.  It gives me great joy to hear and see the bees buzzing around the blossoms.  

Zinnias are Harry’s favorite garden flower. Their vibrant colors and perky petals are a mainstay in the bouquets he brings to me.  It’s hard to be “uncheerful”  looking at zinnias..

My flower garden is in the second growth now. Daffodils and Sweet William have gone and the Painted Daisy, Crazy Daisy and Shasta Daisy are putting out their bloom stalks.  Snapdragon, cosmos, marigold and more zinnia transplants form a sweet curve in the garden entrance.

Echinacea is setting its first blossoms. I love their hardy strength and seed head. Most of all, we depend on the roots to make medicine tea for winter colds. 

It’s time to thin and trim the calendula next to the strawberries.  It will bloom again through the autumn if we get the midsummer deadheading done.  The whole row was a self seeding gift.  The calendula petals can be infused in oil and used to heal wounds and skin.  Your fingers may get sticky with calendula flower juice as you pluck them!

Fresh garden food right now includes broccoli, Costata Romenesca zucchini, Ailsa Craig onions, cucumbers, beets, chard, carrots and green beans. Often our supper is a giant pot of vegetables fresh from the garden.  The taste of vegetables unadorned in full fresh flavor is a seasonal headiness that passes so quickly. 

Preserving season is ramping up as well.  I’ve made cherry jelly from my garden buddy Andy’s cherries and a combination jam with raspberries from our daughters garden and blueberries Harry and I picked in the western Maine mountains. My hope is to have canned beans, tomatoes and carrots going into the winter. 

This week is garlic pulling week. The garlic looks beautiful!  We grow Music Pink and a braiding variety.  We used our last garlic off the braid about two weeks ago.

I’ve been away from our garden since early August. My dad lives far away on the Oregon coast. I got a call and learned that his heart has failed and may stop at any time now.  So I left the garden and flew out to sit with my dad, hold his hand and sing him songs one last time before he makes his final flight to freefall into the pure light. 

Tuesday View 7.25.17 – Cully

Returning to the Memorial Garden, singing farewell songs and remembering Cully.  He educated thousands of of people about our God-given right to cannabis and the benefits of the hemp plant.  When folks were divided about this or that in the Maine cannabis community, Cully kept going, doing the work that needed to be done. Teaching.  

With the powerful wail of the bagpipes setting his earth spirt free, I recommitted mySelf in his honor and memory to never back down from doing my part to speak truth to power.  There are so many acts of “resistance of the heart against business as usual” to be done.  I think that when we do what we can individually, the collective impact creates the world we want to live in.


We just don’t get to know how anything will turn out.  What we get to do is the work to make it possible. So we go in faith, hope and love.  But we must surely keep going. Keep the faith. Walk in beauty. Seek joy. Turn on your love light and let it shine. 


In the beginning, I did not know what this plant would bring to the Memorial Garden.  I still don’t know anything but the magnificent fragrance and bouncy cheerful color I can see from my kitchen window. And I remember Cully’s mischievous grin. His vibrant twinkle. The sticky sweet green bud he shared so freely and with such pleasure. 


The work of liberation and resistance doesn’t end. Harry say that rights are not given, they are won and taken.  The garden needs weeding, so the fullness of color has space to emerge.  Weeds of indecision, past regrets, discouragement, fear, weariness–rip them out and make way for an explosion of color revolution.


Cully was one of the political forces that created The Hill. To the cause of cannabis liberation, he did indeed commit his life, his fortune and his sacred honor.  In honoring his work, we can do no less. 

Come share sweet flowers with me!

In the secret space of dreams, where I dreaming lay amazed…


When the secrets are all are told and petals all unfold..


When I had no dreams of mine, you dreamed of me.  Thank you, Jerry. 

Saint Francis said the journey is essential to the dream.  Joy on your journey. 


Flowers for the Court of Cannabia, set in our Green Love Renaissance

 Zowie Zinnias, pansies , petunias and hemp, hemp hooray!

Speaking of flowers…says the farmer. 

July Flowers

The sunflowers I planted for Brenna’s wedding self seeded all over the garden

Peace is my aspiration. I fall short, but the petunias say Don’t Let Go!

 

Harry calling me into the garden.

In a Vase on Monday 7.3.17

Flower songs in my vase this morning…

This land is my land, no one can stop me as I go walking the Freedom highway, this land was made for you and me.  

I carry that hope and believe we shall come together to wield the hammer of Justice, ring out the bell of freedom, and sing songs about love all over this land. 

Fourth day of July sun so hot, clouds so low, the eagles filled the sky….from sea to shining sea, 

Please say a prayer, it’s Independence Day.

Seeking beauty and turning toward joy is a choice. Red, white and blue flowers–sweet William, larkspur, Daisy, radish flower, borage flower and zinnia sitting on the old hay rake.  

Gathering the cut hay with the antique equipment was an adventure.  It was a two person job, one on the tractor, the other riding the rake.  And truely dangerous.  The rake could uncouple or hit ledge and you could end up rolling down the hill backward on a hay rake–no brakes, but the tines would slow it all down eventually.  


The overhead view balancing between the framework.  The larkspur is from early starts from saved seed.  The self sowing larkspur hasn’t flowered yet.  

As I prepare my offering for Rambling in the Garden weekly gathering of vases, I’ve been thinking how hard it is to set aside the time to be in front of a screen, when I’d rather be outside with Harry in the garden.  

The reason for the blog still motivates me.  I want to share my summer of growing flowers and food with my family and we are so far flung–scattered all about.  

With gratitude, with love, with joy.

Not Fade Away…