In a Vase on Monday: a First!

No, the ‘first’ was not a first prize for these zinnias, but the first time I have have had decent enough zinnias to merit a vase of their own!

After juggling sowing times for a few years I achieved a small degree of success with them last year with some VERY SMALL zinnias in the cutting beds. They were stunted and straggly and overshadowed by other things, but it was still part of the learning process. Resolving to keep on trying, this year they were planted out in what was once a token vegetable bed within the fruit cage but now housed just sweet peas and an overlarge rhubarb crown (more about that in another post); here they ‘grew like Topsy’ until overshadowed by the aforementioned overlarge rhubarb. There are, however, still a handful of plants – Purple Prince, I think – which are a respectable 3 feet or so high and which happily offered up blooms for today’s vase. Aren’t the centres of zinnias fascinating?

It occurred to me that somewhere in my distant past there might be certificated evidence of another ‘first’ which could serve as a prop; duly found, I was pleasantly distracted by the rest of the hoard, comprising school reports, O and A level exam papers and various random achievements from my child-and-teenage-hoods. The undated prop was a Firat Prize awarded in the one year I entered a local horticultural and produce show, aged (deduced from another certificate, this time a second prize) somewhere between 10 and 15 and therefore a good few years ago, and awarded for Decorated, White, Hen’s Egg ‘hardboiled’. On the back of the certificate is written the word ‘cup’, possibly suggesting the egg merited a trophy for best children’s exhibit, but of this I have no recollection whatsoever!

The vase was one bought earlier this week from the charity shop operating on the site of our local recycling centre into which we had called after recycling a number of bags of rubble, its pretty shade of green seeming to reflect the equally attractive green of the zinnia stems. The vase does actually have a proper ‘front’ which I thought would be more appropriate for countrified or wild flower contents than for these zinnias.

Will you join us today, with pickings from your own garden or locality? We would love to see you.

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54 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: a First!

  1. the running wave says:

    Wonderful zinnias Cathy, with a colour to knock your socks off! Fabulous! The colours in my vase this week are rather more restrained! Yours reflect the lovely hot and sunny weekend we have been having. No Bank Holiday here in Scotland today, but hope you enjoy yours! Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amanda – they certainly look like other people’s zinnias now!! We find when we visit my Mum that the earlier Scottish BH is not made as much of as it would be in the rest of the UK

      • the running wave says:

        I think we had one here last weekend! Not sure – these things tend to pass me by these days! A

        • Cathy says:

          The Scottish one is usually about the beginning of August – I know what you mean though, although I do know when they are as my Monday exercise activities do not run on Bank Hols!

  2. pbmgarden says:

    Congratulations on growing your zinnias Cathy! They are perfect in that vase, the color of which supports the purple flowers completely. So you got an early start growing things? Thanks so much for hosting Monday vases!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – I really am chuffed about the zinnias and confident of further success next year 🙂 Yes, I had a couple of years of seed sowing as a young teenager but then more academic pursuits kicked in

  3. AlisonC says:

    I’m a Zinnia fan and these are bright and beautiful. Love the props, I guess you had a good trip down memory lane and lovely that you have kept this evidence. My post today is along similar lines – ie competitions. The process of learning how things will grow well for you is fascinating, isn’t it? And exciting when something new grows for you. It’s not always what is ‘advised’ that works either. I sow Zinnias and prick out which is not advised but I have found it works. I have lots of plans and tweaks for next year, let’s hope I remember them all when the time comes.

    • Cathy says:

      I actually sowed the zinnias quite early this year, sowing some in February AND, like you, pricking them out, and I shall do so again. It is indeed good to build on our experiences and have the confidence to try things in our own way. Do you keep a written record of dates of sowing and the like? I have found that really helpful – although I am very lax at noting when things start flowering because I am busy with other things in the garden by then

      • AlisonC says:

        Yes I do try and keep notes about sowing and germination but the germination part gets lost sometimes. I also go round on a Sunday (I try at least) and list into my phone voice recorder what is flowering. I transfer to a spreadsheet but am weeks behind just now. As long as I don’t lose the recordings, I’ll be fine! That gives an idea of flowering dates. One tip I learnt was to write it all on the labels and then transfer that to your notes.

        • Cathy says:

          Voice recording is such a good idea – I could do with doing that on my rambles when I spot a task I need to do, like deadheading or staking, which invariably I have forgotten by the time I get back to the house – much easier to carry a phone rather than taking a notebook and stopping to write things down. Thanks for the idea, Alison

  4. Congrats on the Zinnia success and I love the vase! So nice when it’s possible to ‘re-use’ something, instead of sending it to a landfill isn’t it? I also feature a few Zinnias today, plus a few perennials:

    • Cathy says:

      Aw thanks Chris. The charity shop is a great idea and I was pleased to see it busy when we went, especially with children spending their pocket money on 2nd hand toys

  5. bcparkison says:

    I have a friend who grows a field of zinnias to sale at the farmers market. Every color under the rainbow.They are colorful.

  6. Beautiful zinnias Cathy! I hope you continue to try as they are simple summer joy to behold. They do so well for me, but it is dryer and hotter here, so maybe that is part of the clue to success.

  7. Cath Moore says:

    Congratulations on both counts! I love the centre of zinnias…how they look like flowers within a flower! Here’s my entry this week.

  8. Yay, well done. I had similar Zinnia issues and finally got some Lilac Emperor (a similar color) last year. I love the vase and am always surprised at what people will throw away. Here is my vase this Monday.

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  10. I love zinnias and have grown them again this year. Such great colours. Yours look fab.
    Cupcakes from me today

  11. Kris P says:

    You deserve another first prize (and probably a cup too) for hosting IAVOM, Cathy! I’m glad the Zinnias came through for you. I’ve found them very rewarding summer flowers as well. I also used some in one of my vases today:

  12. Heyjude says:

    I love the bright Zinnias with their intriguing centres, but have not ever grown them. Another to avoid here I think!

  13. Noelle says:

    Again a single flower type…but great PR…and well done. I admire you for keeping for certificates in a place to find! I am posting just one type of flowers too this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Haha – I was chuffed I could find the certificates and things so easily, Noelle, all in one box in the loft. Not that they will mean anything to anyone but me, I suppose 🙂

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  15. Sam says:

    Yay, zinnias! They are lovely flowers, aren’t they? But they do like lots of sunlight and heat. Here’s my small vase today: Thanks, as always, Cathy. Sam x

    • Cathy says:

      OK, OK, so they mightn’t have done as well if it had been a cool and damp summer – but at least I feel I know what I am doing with them now!

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  17. karen says:

    Lovely zinnias, Cathy. I haven’t grown any this year. It’s been a strange season. Somethings have thrived, others never even germinated. Here’s my IAVOM today

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  19. Ah yes, once you get started looking through old memorabilia or photos you can lose a lot of time! Well done on your zinnia success. They do like it hot and sunny.
    Here is my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I suspect I shall be doing more browsing when I put the certificate away! And if we have a ‘poor summer’ hext year I will just have to relive memories of this year’s zinnias!

  20. smallsunnygarden says:

    Zinnias at last! 😉 They are one of my sister’s favorites, but she has had difficulties time and again – in her case mostly an assortment of rodents. With teeth. Ah well…
    I love your finds, both nostalgic and second-hand.
    I’ve managed to post a vase again this week, thanks to the arrival of unexpected flowers…:

    • Cathy says:

      That’s the trouble with rodents – it’s the teeth! We do get rats in the garden sometimes and although there are holes in the woodland edge border the rats don’t seem to affect the plants – unless the plants disappear down the holes! Some people might say there are perhaps too many ‘interesting finds’ in this house! 😉

  21. Cathy your zinnias I love have a fantastic color and you are absolutely right its center is spectacular. Congratulations on your zinnias! The vase is fabulous and looks great with the zinnias. I am very glad that they reminded you of your childhood and adolescence. Best regards from Margarita xx

  22. Chloris says:

    I find the worst problem with zinnias is the slugs and snails when they are young and vulnerable. Yours are so pretty. You kept your ‘o’ and ‘a” level results? My goódness, you are a serious hoarder.

    • Cathy says:

      I can see why that would be a problem when they are overshadowed by other plants, so it’s definitely win-win in a separate bed. Oh, and I am pleased to reassure you that I am definitely NOT a Hoarder, and this non-hoard is just one smallish box of paper history, albeit not likely to be of interest to anyone other than me! School reports certainly make interesting reading 😉

  23. tonytomeo says:

    So, I am not the only one who has difficulty with zinnias. Others (and now yours) make them look so easy!

  24. Sweet vase. Zinnias are fascinating, I bought some plants at a garden gate but they have not done well. I’ll try to catch some earlier next year.

    • Cathy says:

      It is recommened they are not planted out till after last frosts but this can then limit their potential flowering period – I went against a lot of the perceived wisdom this year with timings, and the intuition seems to have paid off

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