Zinnias, Snapdragons, and Rudbeckia – Oh my!

Each of the past two weeks, after most of Friday’s harvesting is done, a few of us have gone into the fields to cut bouquets of flowers for the CSA pick-up and Saturday’s market in Chestertown. At the moment, we have (as the title of the post suggests) mixed colors of zinnias and snapdragons, and about half of a bed of rudbeckia (also known as Black-eyed Susans – Maryland’s state flower!). We usually bunch flowers in bouquets of a dozen stems, and they are available as one ‘unit’ at the CSA pick-up. (Bouquets are also available at the Chestertown market, while supplies last, at the Saturday market for $5.) I’ve been out and about with my camera again, and I wanted to share a few photos of our beautiful flower beds – I’ve always loved taking close-up pictures of flowers!

Our zinnias right now are the State Fair mix and Benary’s Giant varieties (according to the label stakes in the bed), and are a vibrant mix of pinks, corals, purples, reds, oranges, yellows, and the occasional white or ivory bloom. We transplanted them on one of my first days on the farm in early May. (That day, we also transplanted sunflowers, which shortly thereafter were systematically dug up by some critter or another… Sigh.) I will always have a soft spot for zinnias. In the house where I grew up, my brother and I were each allowed one bed in the garden in which we could grow (or at least attempt to grow) whatever we chose. I grew many kinds of flowers over the years, but there were almost always zinnias of some kind for a cheerful pop of color! Watching the zinnias growing on the farm brings back wonderful memories of that house and its garden.

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Our snapdragons, at the opposite end of the farm from the zinnias, are a mix of whites, yellows, lavenders, pinks, corals, and deep reds (which to me look like they’re made of velvet). My personal favorites are the ones shown in the photo to the right – they are pink and coral and orange, all on the same flower! Stunning as a single stem, the snapdragons are even more beautiful in bunches.

Two weeks ago, when I last was part of the flower-cutting group, we joked with a workshare member that each of us had a different way of making bouquets – some of us mixed the different flower varieties, some preferred to stick to single varieties, some carefully color-coordinated each bunch, some of us decided that a bouquet of zinnias had to have at least one of every possible color, and so on. No matter how they’re bunched, though, they are all beautiful, summery, and cheerful, and guaranteed to brighten your day – and any room in your house!

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