"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Zinnia Elegance (4 of 4)

Zinnia Elegance (4 of 4)

From A History of Zinnias: Flower for the Ages by Eric Grissell:

“Garden zinnias, though among the most commonly grown annuals, are one of those flowers whose influences are greater than might easily be recognized. Originating as a lowly Mexican wildflower, they have held sway over subjects as far ranging as music, social customs, community design, larceny, art, battles at sea, and even outer space.

“[In] the early 1900s communities on the American side of the Atlantic recognized the importance of zinnias as they became more popular among designers. In 1913 zinnias were touted as elements of ‘Futurist designs’ harmonizing ‘with designs formed of cubes and triangles’ because of their rigidity and colors. The bright, clear colors of ‘this flower suggest those in the giddiest futurist silk,’ thus being used for fresh corsages and, in their artificial forms, as trimmings for hats and frocks. Zinnias were also being mentioned in the household decorations of society’s best….

“Most recently zinnias appear in yet another aspect of human endeavor, this time… in outer space. In January 2016 US astronaut Scott Kelly announced that a zinnia had bloomed on the International Space Station…. The purpose in specifically growing zinnias was as a testing phase for eventually more useful plants such as tomatoes because of the long growth periods and light conditions associated with both plants. It was also thought that flowering plants might raise the spirits of space station crew members.”

From “Garden in Progress” by Bertolt Brecht in Bertolt Brecht: Poems, edited by John Gillett and Ralph Manheim:

A lifetime
Was too little to think all this up in. But
As the garden grew with the plan
So does the plan with the garden.

The powerful oak trees on the lordly lawn
Are plainly creatures of the imagination. Each year
The lord of the garden takes a sharp saw and
Shapes the branches anew….

Around the vast tangle of wild roses.
Zinnias and bright anemones
Hang over the slope….


This is the last of four posts with photos of zinnias that I took in the last week of September and the first week of October. The previous three posts are: Zinnia Elegance (1 of 4), Zinnia Elegance (2 of 4), and Zinnia Elegance (3 of 4).

So we’ve come to the end of the zinnias for this year. Or, perhaps not: I went on an aster-hunting expedition yesterday and saw that the zinnias were still going strong, waving in the breeze as bees and fritillaries bounced around, bloom-to-bloom. Since this is the first autumn I’ve given zinnias attention, I’ll keep an eye out to see how long they last — and also see if some new colors (or shapes!) appear that I haven’t photographed yet. If so, they may be back — nobody knows for sure!

Thanks for taking a look!

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