Foraging for Zinnia Seeds, by Wendy DeRaud



"To know a primrose is a higher thing than to know all the botany of it - just as to know Christ is an infinitely higher thing than to know all the theology." George MacDonald, "Unspoken Sermons"



If it weren't for my zinnias, I would have little joy in my summer garden, for as soon as the temperatures rise, most of my plants and flowers can barely cope.

But not the hearty zinnia. She enjoys flaunting her glorious colors, and even as they fade on her long, luxurious stems, she poses in all the various muted tones she wears in her dying. She knows that is her fate, yet she proudly holds herself strong, and always buds a new bloom for us all to enjoy.

Today I decided to take apart the dried zinnia flowers and see what I could find.






Beauty begets beauty and life begets more life, even in death we are made new. I think deeper and deeper thoughts as I take apart the outer dried up petals that once were bright orange-red and now are brown. When all the petals are stripped from the core, there remains the stout little centerpiece, the place where bees, hummingbirds and butterflies find something delicious and nutritious, the place where fertilization and germination occurs. I am not a botanist, but I have learned that this is where seeds are born.

I listened to a YouTuber named The Maintenance Man. He's got an accent that tells me he's from somewhere in the south. His mother has taught him a lot about zinnias apparently. He's my kind of man, because he also is fond of hummingbirds, and this manly rural working man ain't afraid to admit he watches hummingbirds pretty closely. He was trying to get a good shot of some ruby-throated variety but his videos came out kind of fuzzy. Back to the zinnia seeds.

He took me into his barn and showed me how to pull apart a dried up zinnia flower, and then he showed me the difference between a true zinnia seed and one that is no good. So I did what he said - I pulled out all the dried up petals, and what remained was the disc-like core, where I began to gently pull out all the potential seedlings. Out of a huge pile of dried up white flake-like wisps, some darker ones were actually seeds that had been germinated. They were darker and looked to be the shape of sperm. They had a short little tail on them too.

Zinnia is one tough flower. It is believed to mean joyous endurance, happy to bloom in the broiling heat of summer. Now I can preserve something left after the flowers dry up and die off, I can anticipate yet another fuller, richer, more abundant crop next summer, after I save all of the seeds I need, to plant them in next year's cool Spring soil.

It is so like God to make use of everything, even the dying of a flower. Nothing is wasted, there is always hope.