Greetings to all,
Welcome to this continuing message thread. The previous part of this ongoing series, It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 5, has over 150 messages and 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 5 thread through this link http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1275654/ and it, in turn, has a link to the part before it, and so on. As always, your participation and comments here are most welcome.
In the time since the beginning of Part 5, I have added the toothy tubular (exotic) zinnias, which were created by crossing my tubular zinnias with the star-tipped mutant. I have also added the Razzle Dazzle zinnia type, which was created by crossing the star-tipped mutant with cactus zinnias. The Razzle Dazzle zinnias closely resemble the Razzle Dazzle strain of Gaillardias.
I am also growing commercial Burpeeana Giant zinnias (from Stokes), Benary's Giant zinnias, and California Giants zinnias(also called Giants of California) in order to add their genes to my gene pool. I can't help wondering what crossing a Razzle Dazzle zinnia with a Benary's Giant zinnia will result in.
Pic #1 is a yellow Razzle Dazzle. Pic #2 is a scarlet tipped yellow Razzle Dazzle. Pic #3 is a current tubular recombinant. Pic #4 is a current aster flowered recombinant. Pic #5 is a current Burpeeana Giants selected specimen, with one of those hard-to-name "paint chip" zinnia colors.
More later. As before, your comments, questions, and zinnia pictures are always welcome.
It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 6
Greetings to all,
Thanks for your comments. I do have high hopes for the Razzle Dazzles. The pic of the little tubular was taken yesterday, and it is rather small, even for a tubular. It will grow somewhat bigger as it progresses.
That is a great closeup of your little zinnia. It really gives you an "ant's eye" view, and the surrounding leaves give a great ambience. Small zinnia blooms like that occur on the Cupids, Lilliputs, Thumbelinas, and Zinnita zinnia strains. The Thumbelinas are really small plants, and start to bloom when they are only 3 inches tall, with the plant eventually becoming a little 6-inch bush.
I recognize that the tubulars may not be your "cup of tea". They are a very different zinnia form. They have a fireworks star burst look that I kind of like, and it is one of the tubular strains that I am continuing to improve. It needs bigger blooms and a wider color range. A few pictures of that form of tubular zinnias from last year and last Winter are attached.
ZM - Hope you have had some seriously needed rain by today. We had an inch and a half this morn which makes for nearly 13 inches here for the month of July. I'm thinking that since you are to the west of here, that maybe you had rain, too? That may be a record quantity for July for us as it is more often dry in July than wet. But I'm not complaining. I'm not bragging either. My Wetland Garden, where I plant my late zinnias, has been under water 4 times since early June when I planted zinnias there. Good thing zinnia are on ridges. Part of that garden was standing in water until yesterday, now part of it is standing in water again. Oh well - Will take what we get and be happy with it.
I always enjoy your zinnia photos and I enjoy seeing what you are capable of coming up with with your hybridizing. Again, your white zinnia #2, is more white than any other white zinnia I have ever seen. The white in center of #5 soft yellow cactus zinnia is interesting. Your Razzle Dazzles only compare to the 4th of July fireworks. A WOW, for sure.
You gave me info on locating Whirlygig Zinnias from Stokes and here is what I have - straight from their seed packet to bloom. I must say, I like the quality of Stokes seeds and the outcome. Thanks for sharing that info.
Enjoying hybridizing and seeing the final results.
I love #5, thanks for the never-ending parade of distinct blooms!
OMG Brenda, that's spectacular...so many butterflies. Great photos, thanks for sharing your garden helpers! One thing that really impresses me is good quality photos, ZM is extraordinarily good at photographing his beauties. They're just like being there in person.
You have some nice looking Whirligigs there. I am sorry to say that my Whirligigs from Stokes have been a disappointment this year. Very few that I consider breeder quality. I attached a picture of one of the few "keepers" (Pic #1).
However, there is one thing that appeared in my Stokes Whirligigs patch that surprised me -- namely another tubular mutant !!! I feel sort of like I was struck by lightning twice. So be on the lookout for a tubular mutant in your Stokes Whirligigs. Actually, I don't think that the tubular specimens are an actual mutation that appears in your garden. I think they are a strange rather stable strain that survives in zinnia seed fields "under the radar" and a seed from one occasionally shows up in a commercial seed packet or package. I think a lot of people just don't notice them in among their "regular" zinnias.
My attempts to upgrade the size of my Razzle Dazzles by crossing them with big zinnias results in some rather odd results (Pic# 2). I will keep doing those crosses with bigger RDs in mind, but accepting the odd results as "interesting". I am growing some Giants of California and Benary's Giants (Pics #3 and #4) in order to introduce some "big" genes into the mix. I was inspired to do that by some of your pictures of large zinnias. Pic #5 is a current exotic tubular recombinant. More later.
You must have sent me your luck with the Whirlygigs by telling me where to find them. Sorry you are not having good luck with them this year. Maybe they are not all up and growing good just yet - we'll hope that is the problem. Your #2 above, from the distance reminds me of a dianthus.
Nice flesh color,too. I like your giants, but of course the larger the zinnia the better I like it.
I could not get in my zinnia patches today as the ground is too wet, so I took pictures from the distance. In #1 photo, my Whirlygigs are in the shorter row to the right of the other zinnia (from my saved special stash). I planted the Whirlygigs a little later, so I haven't really got to see what I have in the way of Whirlygigs.. Just the ones, for sure, that I posted earlier. The #2 photo is taken in a different location and the birds are feasting on the seed, plus the zinnias are a butterfly magnet. Thought ZM you could enjoy seeing part of my crop of zinnias........... It's that time of year. I'm excited to see what all the Whirlygigs have to offer and any other surprises the zinnia may hold.
Checking my blooms this eve and here is what I have. While in the two different areas of zinnias, I did a lot of deadheading.
#1 & #2 Are blooms from seed I purchased this year from Stokes.
#3, #4 & #5 Are blooms from some of my hybridizing.
I was checking out my scabiosa zinnia planting and found that even if the blooms are on the same plant, they aren't necessarily looking like scabiosa. I saw one where there was a scabiosa type bloom and on the same plant, there was a single bloomer. I was pondering taking out the plants in my scabiosa planting that are singles, but maybe I should leave them and see what the deadheading has in store???
Again, hope rain came to Ottawa, KS?
That is an impressive lineup of zinnia specimens. #2 has a great flower form. #3 is a tricolor. And the flower form of #5 is unique. You can't get that from a seed packet. I would designate it as a priority breeder and use all that pollen, either to self it, or to pollinate other specimens like #3.
My #1 is a newer bloom on an uprolled specimen somewhat like your #5. #2 is a view of some crowded cactus types, out of a package of Burpeeanas from Stokes grown in Tanzania.
You are now in a position to be crossing zinnia specimens that differ from any commercial variety. That can be rather adventurous. I have a lot of culling to do. More later.
ZM - You keep me ZINNIA motivated. Maybe I'll just head for the zinnia bed this morn instead of heading out with the weedeater. I mis-spoke with my numbering of photos right above. I thought I had that corrected - but anyhow - The #1 & #2 photo were from seed from Stokes. The rest were some of my hand creating. Thanks for all your heads up about them.
Looks like you have been busy with the cactus. I do better with cactus if I keep them separate from the rest. A little more time consuming that way. I see your cactus has a curl.
Speaking of culling - I did a remarkable lot of deadheading last eve. Even contimplating pulling out a few that just aren't what I like. I'm even giving thought to planting more to see what other beauties are hiding in the seed I still have on hand. I'll not expect frost until mid/late October. Will see.
My culling is a little more ruthless. If the first bloom looks like it is in the 90% part of Sturgeon's Law, I pull the plant or, if it is too close to a nearby plant, I snip it off at ground level with a hand pruner.
And, if I really like a bloom, I may be tempted to remove it to encourage the plant to branch and produce more of them.
But I am not recommending those strategies to you. You are doing just fine, and you are already in the zone of working with exotic new zinnias that are far beyond the reach of commercial sources. And now my comments on my attached photos.
#1 is an exotic with an interesting white effect near the center. The petals come in white and then change color as they develop. I like that effect, and will be going for more of it in future recombinants.
#2 has interesting three-pronged petal ends and delicately corrugated petal texture. I suspect it has Razzle Dazzle genes contributing the three-pronged effect. Some of its petals also have "tendrils" or "antennae", which are long narrow curved fingers. I kind of like them.
#3 is a variation on the Razzle Dazzle flower form, in which the individual florets overlap more and have a more toothy floret ending.
#4 seems to be a modification of the fantasy flower form, with slightly more delicate petals and a pale yellow suffused white color scheme. It is a recombinant, but I am not sure of its heritage.
#5 seems to be a modification of the exotic flower form (tubular petals with star-tipped ends) and the modification may be due to Razzle Dazzle genes.
I am encouraged that new variations are appearing in my recombinant zinnias. I plan to back-cross them to selected Benary's Giants, Giants of California, and Burpeeana Giants. More later. More things to do in my zinnia patch.
This message was edited Aug 1, 2015 11:53 AM
This message was edited Aug 1, 2015 11:59 AM
Thanks for sharing you two. Lots of fun to follow.
Geesh - I keep loosing my post. Guess that is what I get for going back and looking at your photo's ZM. I like your #1 above with the white to the center. The #3 has a spidery effect. #4 is such a soft soft yellow with the downward curled petals. If you could just get the pollen portion of the zinnia in the tublar petals of your # 5 above - what a hummingbird magnet that would be. I like the #2 - soft lavender, also.
I've been down at my lowest patch (my Wetland Garden I call it) of zinnias that I have been babying. That is the area of my zinnia that were planted just after June 1 they have already been under water 4 times and still hanging in there - just not for how long. We are supposed to get 2-4 more inches of rain in the next two days. Either me or mother nature keeps taking a tole on those zinnia. Because they are kind of pitiful and trying so hard to bloom, I decided to give them a shot of 12-12-12 fertilizer today, then I cultivated them with tractor and cultivators. I probably took out just a few, but the other vegetation was also becoming a problem. I went down there this eve and checked on them. Last night I deadheaded just about all of them because my plan was to cultivate them and I figured that if I cut their blooms off, then at least that was part of the plant that the cultivators would not injure. It was amazing to me how even more of them had burst into bloom today. I have one that is a kind of a brown mustard color which I like and I hybridized it to be just that. I forgot my camera this eve, so the only pictures I can share this eve are from the couple of zinnia that I popped the head off with my fingers. I'm surprised I didn't get stun by a bee, as they sure like to hide themselves down in the zinnias for the night and there I was popping heads now and again.
Picture #1 and #2 were from yesterday. #3 & #4 are the ones I popped off with my fingers today and brought to the house and photoed this eve. I really like the scabiosa (thanks for that info). #3 has more of a stiff texture than most of the cactus I've grown - nice little hybridize.
I have some really large blooms this year which will make for some fun hybridizing.
My #2 above was really different. It was like it was split down the middle and one side was one thing and the other something else. What fun - seeing just what we created from one year to the next. Just keep it up.
" I think it's a beaut... It is a brilliant red. The largest zinnia that I have. "
Wow! That one is a beaut !!! And no pollen florets showing. There must be a bunch of receptive stigmas up in the upper and possibly the middle of that bloom that are crying for pollen. Try not to lose the genes of that big one. Try to get as many of its stigmas pollinated as possible. Even if the pollen is from a somewhat smaller zinnia, the "big genes" are not lost in a cross, and can be recovered in subsequent generation recombinants.
Your #3 above does have extra curled cactus petals. There was a strain of zinnias several decades ago that were called "Fantasy flowered", and that specimen gives you an avenue to bring back the Fantasy flower form in your zinnias.
I'm sorry you lost a constructed message. That has happened to me repeatedly, and it is very annoying.
" I decided to give them a shot of 12-12-12 fertilizer today, then I cultivated them with tractor and cultivators. "
Wow! You have a tractor and cultivator !!! That is impressive. I kind of have to do my cultivation with a garden hoe. And I hand pull or clip off weeds that are really close to my zinnias. I do have a mid-tine tiller (a Merry Tiller) that I can use to prepare a seed bed. But it is no help cultivating or weeding. That I have to do by hand. You are really impressing me. It was some of your large zinnia specimens that inspired me to grow some Giants of California this year, and I am really glad I did. Those large heirloom zinnias also have large plants, and they are going to add some "big genes" to some of my breeders. I have some unusual specimen that should make some interesting crosses with those California Giants. More later. You are doing great with your zinnia project. I am still trying to form a picture in my mind of a tractor cultivating zinnias. That is mind blowing!
Thanks mittsy. I know you like ZM's fireworks and he does have beautiful fireworks zinnia.
I didn't have as many of the cactus type (the #1) as in past years, so I am pollinating, marking and saving more seed from them this year. I had a really bright read one which seemed a little out of the ordinary and I definitely have saved seed form that one. When I get working in among the zinnia time just disappears.
ZM - Great zinnia specimen as always.
I must remember, tomorrow, to take a ruler or tape measure with me to the Wetland Garden where my zinnia are, so I can get a couple of sized pictures. I want you to see the size of a couple and I myself am curious about their diameter.
Seems I have been saving more purple flowered zinnia than any other color this year, not sure why.
It seems that the longer the season goes, the more unique colors appear in the zinnia patch. I think I have noticed that in past years. At the beginning of the season the zinnia seem to be red, purple, yellow, white, pink, orange, magenta; and now it's the flesh and pumkkin color, the muted magenta, the iridescent pink, more two toned. These zinnia never cease to amaze me.
" I must remember, tomorrow, to take a ruler or tape measure with me to the Wetland Garden where my zinnia are, so I can get a couple of sized pictures. "
One of my biggest disappointments this year was that I didn't have any really big zinnias, and I anticipated that I would. The first two pictures are of my typical "big" zinnias, with plastic rulers providing an accurate measurement. Next year I hope to have some significantly larger specimens to "kick off" my big zinnia project.
The next two pictures show the plants of a couple of my I29 progeny. The fifth picture is a photo of I29 itself, showing its extreme up-rolled petals. I29 had essentially no pollen,so I had to cross it with non-up-rolled specimens to get seeds, with the hope that the extreme up-rolled petals will reappear in the F2 generation (the seeds saved from the F1 specimens, like the two whose photos appear here.)
Another disappointment this year was the problems that weeds presented in my zinnia beds.
I am going to deal with that problem next year by omitting the two central rows of my current four row standardized beds. That will cut in half the number of zinnias that grow in a bed, but it will make the remaining two rows much more accessible to weeding and access for pollinating.
Despite those two major disappointments (no giant zinnias and too many weed problems), I am very optimistic about my zinnia projects next year. And I will be starting my indoor zinnia project soon, which offers a complete change in scenery and a complete change in cultural problems. I won't thave any weeds indoors, and I may make some progress in my large zinnia project. More later.
Well my sized pictures didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. The one I especially wanted to take the picture of is just about spent as you can see in photo # 1. I had another zinnia similar to this red one, that I had posted August 5th. The two were obviously from the same hybridizing, but I had them planted in different locations. I basically plant zinnia in 4 different gardens. As the ground dries, I plant another row or so which helps extend the zinnias spring, summer and into fall. Two of the gardens are on high ground and they are pretty spent (now), as they were planted April/May. One garden is on a hillside, then the best garden right now is in low lying area that (as I said much earlier) has been under water at least 4 times this year. So the zinnia there (the ones below), are lucky they survived all the wet. The nice thing is that they are going strong and I should not part with them until frost takes them away. Speaking of weeds, I have more weeds there than norm, so I will need to take measures next year to eliminate the weeds as much as possible ahead of planting the zinnia. The record rainfall here in June & July aided the weed growing and the weed seeding.
Your cactus specimen are awesome and the one you had measured sure had a good size.
Yes, I too like the uprolls.
I've been saving and marking lots of seeds. I almost let the scabiosa zinnia pass their prime before gathering seed. Too, I have decided I need to keep my Thumbelina zinnia to themselves as the blooms are quite small. Adorable, but very small. Guess that is the good part about having zinnia in different locations. The rabbits hide in the Thumbelina zinnia and then my dog goes to the chase - not a good thing.
Keep working with and enjoying those zinnia.
I think you may have zinnias a little larger than mine. That number 5 is a great looking specimen. I like it that you have 4 zinnia gardens. I have just 2, and my South garden is rather small.
Thumbelinas are very small. They can start blooming when they are only 3 inches tall, and eventually get about 6 inches tall. I grew them many years ago, and crossed them with tall zinnias to get some low growing compact zinnias that I called "midgets". My "midgets" were rather similar to the present day Magellans and Dreamlands. However, I no longer prefer to work with shorter zinnias because, as a senior citizen, I don't like to stoop or kneel to work with them.
I am giving priority to my I29 progeny, because I hope that their recombinants will yield some more examples of the uprolled petals. I designate my individual breeder zinnias with a letter-number code, with each code occupying a page in my looseleaf garden journal. That lets me record as much information as I wish about each designated breeder.
Photo #1 is a bloom of I39, which came from I29, my up-rolled specimen that I pictured in Photo #5 in my last message. I39 has noticeable two-toning, which suggests it has one or more Whirligig ancestors.
Photo #2 is a bloom of I42, which also had I29 as a "mother". Photos #3 and #4 are blooms that were on I29. I have several other progeny of I29 that I am selfing and intercrossing. I hope that my upcoming indoor project will produce a good supply of recombinant seed to plant outdoors early next Spring.
Photo #5 is one of my Benary's Giant specimens that I am using as a female to accept pollen from some of my unusual zinnias. Some of your zinnias that you showed last year inspired me to grow some Benary's Giants and California Giants to add some "new blood" to my zinnia gene pool. I will continue growing those next year to add new possibilities.
I have recently noticed a lot of immature plant bugs in my zinnias as I pollinate them. One of them even got on my arm and started to draw blood like a mosquito. Those bugs have piercing sucking mouth parts to extract sap from plants. That bug that was trying to get sap from my arm probably would have quit when he got blood instead, but I wasn't going to wait around for that to happen, because his attempt was painful. I have heard that thrips will sometimes attack people in the same way, because they aren't smart enough to distinguish people from plants. Actually, I think I have experienced some minor attacks by thrips. Thrips are weird little creatures. More later.
Your pastel beauties are beautiful. I see the tubular in #3 & # 4. I see the variety of color in your # 1. Love the shade of purple.
The Thumbelina that I have are tall (at least 4 feet). See photo #1 & #2 below.
Check out my #3 photo below. This is the back side of a zinnia that I had planned to save. I had no idea the back of the zinnia bloom would look like this. A tad different than any others I have ever seen. This was a medium sized purple zinnia that almost had a tinge of blue in the very center (using my imagination of course), when it first started to bloom.
I'm happy to say that my beds are still lush and green - photo #4 & #5 were taken this morn. Some of the zinnia are so tall that I have to bend them over to check their beauty.
Weather is overcast today - makes for a wonderful fall-like day.
" Check out my #3 photo below. This is the back side of a zinnia that I had planned to save. I had no idea the back of the zinnia bloom would look like this. A tad different than any others I have ever seen. "
I would say that it is more than a tad different. It looks like multiple zinnia buds or flowers instead of a regular zinnia backside. I suppose it could be a genetic mutation, but I think that it is more likely an instance of an Aster Yellows infection of that zinnia. Aster Yellows affects a very wide variety of plants, including many weeds and native plants which can serve as hosts for it, and many ornamentals, including zinnias.
Aster yellows can cause a variety of freakish plant variations and it is caused by a very strange living organism, a bacterium-like organism called a phytoplasma. It is transmitted from plant to plant by a specific kind of leafhopper, the Aster Leafhopper.
Aster Yellows is incurable, and infected plants should be discarded (in the trash bound for a landfill, and NOT in your compost pile) to prevent further spread of the disease. Google "Aster Yellows", or do some other information quest about it.
More later. I will discuss my current zinnia activities in a subsequent message. I thought I should give you a "heads up" about the Aster Yellows.
Thanks for the Aster Yellow info. I'll be Googling that for sure.
A few years ago I had a zinnia that had Aster Yellows. At first I thought it was a genetic mutation, and I was going to save seeds from it and cross it with other zinnias. But as far as I could determine it had no viable pollen or stigmas, so I did some Internet searching and found someone with an Echinacea that had a very similar bloom. And it was diagnosed as Aster Yellows.
So I treated my weird zinnia (it had another fairly large zinnia plant growing out of its main bloom) as a "biohazard", pulled it up carefully with plastic grocery bags on my hands (I didn't have disposable rubber gloves available then -- I do now) and put it in a trash bag (along with the grocery bags) for transport to our local landfill. I have been on the lookout for a recurrence of Aster Yellows in my zinnias ever since. So far, so good, and you might also be as lucky. I expect that you and I will not experience an Aster Yellows outbreak in our zinnias, but we should be alert to the possible occurrence of affected zinnias that need to be "quarantined" and carefully discarded.
The plant with Aster Yellows will have the phytoplasma distributed throughout its system, including apparently unaffected parts and its roots. So all parts of the plant should be discarded. They (the experts) normally do not recommend spraying for the Aster Leafhopper, since it is not usually numerous and there are many leafhoppers present that are not of that species and hence not vectors of the disease.
I did have a "scare" the year after my initial encounter with Aster Yellows, with a very remarkable zinnia that had a condition called Fasciation. The zinnia bloom was distorted into a fan shape and looked very odd, like some varieties of Celosia called "Cockscomb". Apparently fasciation is not Aster Yellows. You can find out more about fasciation at this link.
I still see a case of fasciation from time to time, and instances of "broken" bloom centers, and I consider them as defects and do not use their pollen or pollinate them. I usually pull up the fasciated zinnias and discard them in the trash. All of my zinnia discards go in the trash bound for the landfill rather than put them in a compost pile. In years past I made compost piles with zinnia plants and paid the price with compost that was loaded with zinnia diseases.
I will "toss in" a few pictures of some of my current novel zinnias. More later.
Someday I might do some hybridizing myself but for now I get my thrills by following this thread!
Brenda- time to hit the fall nursery sales and get some new gloves! I got some like that on sale last week.They last only about a year for me. By September the fingertips are coming apart, just like yours, but I like those thin ones.
Pistil - Life is toooo short, you should start hybridizing zinnia now. It is amazing what you can create. These that ZM posted today, could one of these days, be a hummingbird's delight. Mine are not near as elaborate as his, but I sure enjoy working with them.
Oh - you noticed my pitiful gloves. I must have at least 6 pairs and they all look about like that. Thanks Pistil for the nursery sales advise on the gloves. I'll keep an open eye.
Seldom do my zinnia plants end up in the compost pile. Though sometimes I throw my deadhead zinnia in there. Usually my zinnia plants get worked back into the soil after the birds have picked them apart during the winter. Though I do have a big burn pile that gets pretty high sometimes (ahead of a burn).
This Aster Yellows has my attention and in past years now and again I can recal a coneflower (a few years back) and maybe a marigold plant perhaps having that. I'll keep a heads up.
I have seen the Fascination that you talked about on coxcomb and on gloriosa daisy. Just now and again.
I don't get it, the fingertips of those gloves are still intact. I don't throw any of mine out until my fingers poke through, lol.
" Someday I might do some hybridizing myself but for now I get my thrills by following this thread ! "
I agree with Brenda, that it can't hurt to do a little zinnia experimenting on your own. I notice you have a Zone 8a climate in Lake Stevens Washington, so your zinnia growing conditions would be significantly different from those here (zone 5b) in east central Kansas. I presume your climate has considerable maritime influence, which might be conducive to Powdery Mildew on zinnias, but there are several ways to deal with that. I use a systemic fungicide to prevent Powdery Mildew on my breeder zinnias, and it seems to be quite effective. Some people use baking soda.
On the "plus" side, you most likely have a significantly longer growing season than here in 5b, which could make it easier to grow two generations a year. You could grow some zinnias, cross pollinate them, wait 3 or 4 weeks for the green seeds to mature their embryos, and then plant those green seeds to grow a second generation. That would let you see what your crosses produced, make some crosses between them, and save green seeds of your hybrids between hybrids to make for an exciting second year of your zinnia project. Of course, you could skip doing all that and just grow a few zinnias for the fun of it and the enjoyment of your butterflies.
I am attaching a picture of one of my recent crosses between one of my Razzle Dazzle zinnias with one of my Exotic tubular petaled zinnias. That cross yields a flowerform with a "new look." It reminds me a bit of a pink Bachelor's Button, only a bit bigger.
I encourage you to at least dabble a bit with zinnias next year. You could start quite modestly, with just a few zinnia seeds. I find zinnias to be a fascinating hobby.
This message was edited Sep 29, 2015 12:41 AM
ZM - That is an interesting "new look" zinnia of yours. It does remind a person of a Bachelor's Buttons flower.
We are getting much needed, slow/easy rain here - so my zinnia will be dusted off and appear as bright as ever (not that they are dusty). The rain should make for more outstanding blooms. They are so pretty - I cannot save them all, so the other day I took a bucket of water to the front porch and filled it with long stems of zinnia. That was three days ago and they are still beautiful (they look like they were just picked).