Friday, August 26, 2016


There's a community garden a few blocks away from us.  Anyone in the area can have a plot for $25 a year and enjoy the soon-to-be decaying raised beds behind a little wire fence.  There are outer beds with plants for the public and signs imploring people in all capital letters to take only what they need.  I've seen greens, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, and some kind of berries.  The plants are usually pretty picked-over whenever we walk by.

A couple of weeks ago I realized there were zinnia plants in some of the outer beds.  I love zinnias.  They're so hardy and colorful.  They're bright and big.  They're just the best.

So I started picking them.  I've gone over 2 or 3 times lately to pick a few to bring home.  Last week I wound up leaving the bouquet in the orange plastic cup I was carrying to keep them in water.  It was bright and cheerful.  They were bright and cheerful.  It seemed like a good choice for a summer floral arrangement.

When I had a garden as a kid (and a teenager. And a college student home for summer.  And a college graduate who moved back home), I planted a lot of flowers.  Sunflowers, marigolds, and zinnias.  I would try a few others, but those three were the ones that usually survived.  Morning glories would show up as weeds and I'd leave them in the flower areas to creep up sunflowers or other things (a chair with no seat, posts, whatever).  Over a period of ten years or so, I tried just about every zinnia variety I found seed packets for.  Giant ones, miniature ones, green ones--my parents had volunteers popping up for a few years after I got married.

I used to make great bouquets.  They were big and bright and happy.  I loved growing things.  I loved displaying the things I grew creatively.

The first time I picked zinnias this summer, I arranged them in a fancy jelly jar and set them on the table.  Evelyn had gone with me to pick them and Cody stayed home to finish up dinner.  I was talking to him about the different colors of zinnias there are and stopped. "I was still planting zinnias when we met, right?" I asked him.  He said I was.

I'm glad that I was still a person who grew flowers all over the place when we met.  It's important to me, but I don't really know why. 

We have morning glories on the balcony.  They finally started blooming this week.  Cody sent me a text to show me one morning because I'd forgotten to check before leaving for work.  It made my entire day.

Evelyn comes with me to pick flowers some times.  She feels the need to read every sign in the beds, even though they all say the same thing.  THESE BEDS ARE FOR YOU. PLEASE TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED.

"You don't need flowers." she keeps saying.  "No one needs flowers."

I don't bother explaining about bees.  Or how some flowers can repel unwanted insects or how you can use them for medicine or eat them or do something else that's practical.

I just tell her that I do.

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