Welcome to this continuing message thread. The previous part of this ongoing series, It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 3, has become rather long and slow to load, so we are continuing it here for a fresh start. If you want, you can access the Part 3 thread through this link http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/969046/ and it, in turn, has a link to the part before it. As always, your participation and comments here are most welcome.
We have already had some frost damage here and our gardening season will end soon in a killing frost, but I have enjoyed puttering around in my zinnia garden this summer. I grew some of my hybrids from seed saved last year. And I made some new crosses this year. All in all, it was a good year. And I am optimistic that next year will be even better. I continue to be interested in the new variations of zinnias that appear.
The attached picture is of one of my hybrids of hybrids of hybrids. It includes a combination of genes from over a dozen ancestors. I refer to it as my "pink shaggy dog", because it has extra long petals that hang down. If those long dangling petals stood out reasonably straight, it would be about 8 inches in diameter, which would be huge for a zinnia, but still I like the informal shaggy look that the dangling petals give. I would like to develop a strain of these "shaggy dogs" in all colors. I will be working toward that goal, and several other zinnia-breeding goals, next year. And I will be attempting some limited zinnia growing indoors under fluorescent lights this Winter. More later.