9/20/2016

Spot that Plant: Zinnia elegans 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose'


"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."
- Russell Baker

Are you experiencing sweltering heat where you live? This has been a pretty crazy end of summer in our Zone 5B garden. Temperatures were in the chilly single-digits last week but headed higher into the high 20+ degrees this week (30C+ with humidity). While most of our blooms don't seem to know what to do with themselves (some are really leggy, some are very floppy, more than a few are leggy and floppy), the zinnias that I planted in late spring are thriving and trouncing almost every other plant in the late summer garden sweepstakes.

The flower images shown here are the Salmon Rose variety of Zinnia elegans from the Benary's Giant series. The Benary's Giant line of dahlia-like zinnias was developed by Ernst Benary Samenzucht, a 170-year old seed breeding company with an interesting history. Benary's Giants are truly ginormous (as my daughter likes to say), with flower heads ranging from 3 to 5 inches across, which are very ably supported by their sturdy stalks that stay upright without staking, something I can't assert about my dinner-plate dahlias (lying face down in the dirt even as I type). I haven't seen any pest activity on these beauties but this is only my first year of growing this type of zinnia so time will tell if they are as insect and disease-resistant as claimed. I think I will switch these superlative annuals around with my weak-stemmed, aphid-infested dahlias in the front yard next year, perhaps in a wider variety of colours and in greater numbers so I can also use them as cut flowers in the home.

Have you spotted any Benary's Giant zinnias in your neighbourhood or are you growing some? Share a photo or story in the comments below. :)


© 2016 FieldandGarden.com. All rights reserved.

7/15/2016

From the Balcony: Open Sky over Toronto 1


Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us
and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.
- A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

This picture was taken about three years ago (2013) when we were living in an apartment in uptown Toronto. At the time, I was growing vegetables on the balcony and in a community garden - two locations that offered plenty of challenges! I feel really fortunate that I am able to garden in my backyard these days. As small as it is, my yard offers me far more opportunities to experiment and expand my gardening knowledge. I do miss the view though. Open sky definitely has a way of making you feel humbler, and grander, both at the same time.

© 2016 FieldandGarden.com. All rights reserved.

7/08/2016

In the Garden: Baby Blackberries


"Wishing to be friends is quick work,
but friendship is a slow ripening fruit."
- Aristotle

Baby blackberries growing in a corner of the garden. This blackberry "strayed" across to our garden from the neighbour's yard. The parent bush seems to have given up on producing any fruit but the offspring seems to be healthy and thriving. We don't know what variety this plant is but are looking forward to trying the fruit when they ripen!

© 2016 FieldandGarden.com. All rights reserved.