I love having a vase of flowers on the table, so this February I started a mixture of marigolds, snapdragons, and zinnias. The marigolds, sturdy soldiers, set their leaves and filled in pots, borders, and the edge of the garden. They are supposed to keep rabbits away. Pity they don’t deter chipmunks, squirrels, groundhogs, and deer.

The snapdragons languished. I have such bad luck with them, and they are among my favorites, especially the tall ones that reach two feet in height. Sadly, only three plants made it to seedling stage, and they all died away by June.

But the zinnias…I could never have guessed that they would riot, turning into a windbreak more than three feet tall. The colors were subdues at first with pink and lavender showing up first. Now ruby and white, and a brilliant orange have joined the show. They are a beacon for butterflies and fat bumble bees. The hummingbirds were here last week, but they’ve moved on. Tonight there is  a frost warning—it seems early. Sadly, my valiant zinnias could be crushed if the frost catches them. All their glory will fade to black. But I have already captured seeds from this year’s crop to plant again in the depths of February.

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