Zinnias To The Rescue!

“There is no gardening without humility.  Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.” ~ Alfred Austin

Good morning, sweet friends. I am happy to see you this morning.  Please find your coffee or tea and join me as I share a gardening story.  

I have always been a firm believer in listening to the little voice I believe we all have inside of us.  You know the voice, the one that says, “No, I don’t think so” or “Maybe I should think about this a little more.”  I don’t know about you, but usually, my little voice doesn’t fail me.  And, such was the case with the olive jar and lavender.

A few years ago, we lost a magnificent purple beech tree (another story).  So, of course, something had to go in its place.  One day I came upon a wonderful olive jar (hard to find) and my mind immediately went to lavender.  Now, I well know many varieties of lavender are not fond of severe cold.  In our region, we can experience temperatures of twelve below zero during January and February.  Our planting zone is 6-A.  Knowing our planting zone and temperatures, I went on the hunt for a variety of lavender which would suit our area.  And I found a beautiful variety, ‘Lavandula Grosso,’ hardy Zone 5 through 9.  Now understand, when a plant is marked hardy to zone 5 that means it is hardy under conditions of minus 10 to minus 20 degrees.  I was ecstatic and proceeded to order my plants.  But did I have reservations regarding my decision? Oh, yes, it was that little voice saying, “Sandra, are you sure about this?”  Anyway, my beautiful and healthy plants arrived and were planted around the olive jar.  And so began my lavender dreams.  Marvelous fragrance, wispy blooms gently swaying in the breeze, and watching the bees and butterflies dance.  Truly, I was in lavender heaven.

“Gardening is not a rational act.” ~ Margaret Atwood

In this photo, you can see the plants at the size they were when planted in May 2018.

This photo was taken in October 2018.  The plants had spread just as they were supposed to do and were even beginning to bloom.  I had a clear vision for spring.  It would be absolute magnificence, sitting in the garden sipping lavender lemonade and enjoying the beauty.  To say I was thrilled with the progress would be a complete understatement.

“The garden is a love song, a duet between a human being and Mother Nature.” ~ Jeff Cox

Now, I am sure you are wondering, “What happened to the lavender?”  Three below zero is what happened.  And the plants obviously were not hardy to zone 5, as stated.  We allowed the brittle twigs of the lavender to remain in the ground until the end of May, in hopes to see green.  However, all we continued to see were the brittle and dead plants.  I was sick and heartbroken.  Mike was also, he loved the lavender as it grew.

So, what was a gardener to do?  Clearly, we didn’t want to look at an unadorned olive jar and no blooms for the summer.  I didn’t want to plant any type of perennial as I had not given up on the lavender. But, I wanted something happy to help with my sadness of having lost the lavender.  Zinnias were just the ticket, they came to my rescue.  Their blooms are so cheerful and they have engulfed the olive jar, perhaps they knew they were needed.

We are truly enjoying this lovely stand of blooms.  However, we are not the only ones they make happy.  The bees are simply beside themselves.  They do not know which bloom to visit first.

The more one gardens, the more one learns; And the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows.” ~ Vita Sackville-West

In closing, I hope you have enjoyed hearing how I turned ‘brittle sticks into blooms.’ The most significate lesson I have learned from this experience is, thoroughly and I do mean thoroughly, research the plant of choice.  I am in the process of correcting the ‘error of my ways’ as there are two other lavender cultivars I am considering.  

  Look closely, you will see an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on the orange zinnia.

Meanwhile, the bees and butterflies are happy and so are we.  Hope to update you on my progress in the fall or next spring.


“Words, are flowers. Poetry, is a garden.” ~ unknown

Wishing you a beautiful day, full of blooms and bees and butterflies.







Images: tumblr, M.S. Lambiotte, S. Lambiotte


















Leave a Reply

12 Comments on "Zinnias To The Rescue!"

Notify of
Pam Richardson
Good morning Sandra, what a wonderful way to start a Wednesday with my coffee and your beautiful blog! The olive jar makes a gorgeous statement in your garden. I can imagine your thoughts of lavender surrounding your garden feature and the fragrance as you brushed by it. I have had minimal luck with lavender, it rarely survives even our winters. However, I love zinnias and they are so happy here in our heat and humidity. They have certainly given you an explosion of color and they attract bees and butterflies. Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden and story. Have… Read more »
Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things
Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things

I live in zone 7 and our lavender does well here. We have had a couple plants die and had to be replaced, not sure why. Anyway, I have planted zinnias 2 years in a row here and if I am lucky I get one or two to bloom.

Brenda @ It\'s A Beautiful Life

Awwww, the zinnias are a perfect fill in. They are indeed so cheery and colourful. And I LOVE that olive jar. I am sorry about the lavender. Will you try another variety? Or you could plant them in large pots and bring them inside or in the garage for the winter. That’s what we’d have to do here in Alberta. It grows beautifully in the summer, but won’t survive our temperatures.

Wishing you a beautiful day…
Brenda xox


I am so sorry about your lavender. I had a similar experience with mine. I now have one in a small pot that I plan to bring inside when winter comes. I’ll probably kill it there too, but it will be worth a try. I adore zinnias. They are one of my favorites, so colorful and bright, and while I know you are devastated at the loss of the lavender, you made a fine choice as a substitution.

Thanks for your visits. I so enjoy them and your lovely comments.

bonnie morgan

Your zinnias look so healthy! I love your olive jar surrounded by lavender. So sorry the lavender did not make it but I’m glad you aren’t giving up.
As always your quotes and wisdom are blessings to read and ponder.


Wonderful zinnias!How colorful and happy!Hugs!