Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ABC Wednesday: A Zealous Zebra And Zippy Zinnias

Needed this winter? A zest of color.
(Click picture to enlarge)
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"You'd be so lean, that blast of January
Would blow you through and through. Now, my fair'st friend,
I would I had some flowers o' the spring that might
Become your time of day."
~ William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act IV Scene 4.
The clouds have morphed from gray to fluffy cotton ball white and bright blue sky shows through. Sunshine has melted most of the thin ice layer and sublimation has revealed most interesting crystal patterns in that ice which remains. Tiny shards of ice are scattered all over the concrete driveway and on the deck, almost as if miniature icicles were blown apart by the west winds. It is still cold. Again, our forecasters were overly optimistic about that.. it did not reach 40℉... almost, but not quite and here we sit again in the 30's.

Even though the skies are blue and the sun shining yellow.. we could use more color in the flower beds. Right now the bulb and seed and plant catalogues are arriving and I must be content with these.... and the pictures from last summer. So, my submissions for the letter "Z" form a "zest" of color. The "zinnia" pictured were an afterthought. I had tilled up the edge of our no man's land between the fence and the preserve with its creeping rhizomes of wild cane and extra clay mixed with sand and dirt had been dumped there from the excavation of the most recent dry well. Not wanting to deal with the army of ticks that patrol that wilderness, I simply scattered a box of very old wildflower seed along the edge and covered it with a light dusting of leftover compost. The zinnia were the only flowers to germinate and grow, though looking quite scraggly, they grew and bloomed... and bloomed... and bloomed, well into October with bright yellows, deep reds, hot pinks and Tennessee orange petals. They finally succumbed to the cold north wind of November, but it was the first snow of December that finished them off.

The zebra swallowtail visited the zinnia, as well as the other flowers in our garden. Its cousins, the black swallowtail and tiger swallowtail were more commonly sighted; perhaps we can include some of the "zebra's" host plants this year.

"Z" was a hard word... I haven't been to a "zoo" recently to see any "zebra" of the horse family, although sometimes it feels like we have our own "zoo" right here, or perhaps it should be called the "Ziegfeld" follies!

(end of post)


Roger Green said...

ILove the zebra-colored creature.  Zebraas are so distinctive that anything with similar patterns (including roads) claim the name

,ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Ginny Hartzler said...

These are beautiful pictures! The one on the left looks like you snapped the flowers at night in the dark. I love zinnias!

wanda said...

Very beautiful Zinnias.  What a lovely flower.

kenju said...

I'm trying again. Hope it sticks this time.

sandra said...

oops, i went to an old post and comented. this one would NOT come up. i gave up and closed the blog, came back and here it is. love love love the land of blogs. your z is great, you did good. the Zinnias i love and would like them blooming and blooming and blooming.

Denise said...

A lovely collection - hope to see you for Round 8.
ABC Team

colleen said...

Beautiful memories and promises of spring, just around the corner!

kenju said...


Paul Nichols said...

Not as good as yours, but I posted the my first photos of this year on my blog. FYI.

Michelle@RamblingWoods said...

We have eastern tigers visiting here...well, they will next spring anyway...beautiful....