...I have been of late by the zinnias I saw growing in the cutting garden at the Château de Chenonceau during our visit to France last summer -- aren't they so very scrumptious! After visiting the wonderfully romantic castle and the beautiful formal gardens which flank it, I noticed on my tourist castle map that there was also a cutting garden somewhere on the grounds which actually supplies the castle with the flowers for all the stunning floral arrangements found in many of its rooms. Well, I definitely had to find this garden and take a peek...
However, the rest of my family didn't quite share my enthusiasm about visiting another castle garden and pretty much groaned in unison and whined about it being time for lunch or something like that... (I can say that we had definitely reached the point in our visit of the Loire Valley where the children were definitely getting castle-weary!) So, I said something like "we might as well just go see the garden because we're almost there anyways... " which was met with more groans! Needless to say, I just left them (somewhat frustrated) and told them I would meet them in the parking lot... I certainly wasn't going to bypass a cutting garden (especially not one done with French savoir-faire!) because I actually have a thing for cutting gardens; I think there's something so cheerful and "cottagey" about these gardens with their colourful rows and patches of flowers of the same type planted next to each other, making it all look like a lovely patchwork... And, of course, the thought of being able to pick all those flowers to bring into the house really appeals to my sense of domestic bliss. So, off I trotted, full of anticipation...
...and I certainly wasn't disappointed because I came upon an absolutely delightful walled cutting garden laid out in rows of many multi-coloured annuals, herbs and shrubs, all ready to be picked for bouquets. As I moved through it though, I found one corner that absolutely took my breath away because it was bursting with zinnias in all shapes and colours; I was so enchanted with this part of the garden because, you have to understand, I have such a crush on zinnias and I was virtually surrounded by them!
And why do I love zinnias so much?! Well, perhaps because they are so perky in their uprightness and all their yummy colour combos... Or, so perfect with their delicate petals arranged so primly around a center which is often outlined by what seems like the sweetest circle of tiny golden stars (my favourite part of the flower!). In a way, there is something so innocent and childlike about them as they are almost begging to be drawn with colour pencils or stitched in cloth with some candy-coloured floss. I love how the blossoms come in so many different shapes, from the rounded pompom ones to the more elegant dahlia-like ones, and how, not only do they come in many different colours, from pinks and yellows to lilacs, but their petals can also be striped and multi-toned... So, truly, what is there not to love?!
Most importantly though, what makes this precious flower such a sweet little miracle is that it grows so readily from seed. Imagine, the profusion of loveliness you see below can be yours with a few modestly-priced packets of seeds!
So, with all this cheerful beauty in mind, I decided this year that my lake garden will not be without zinnias come summer. Now, although they germinate easily from seed, I have failed miserably in growing them outdoors from seed for the past two years at the lake because of pesky slugs snacking on the seedlings. (Because I'm not there on a regular basis in springtime, I'm unable to try to deter slugs from the garden.) So, armed with lovely thoughts of Chenonceau zinnias, I purchased a few zinnia seed packets a few weeks ago and decided to start them indoors in pots which I will move outdoors on our deck once the days get warmer.
As you can see, a bunch has sprouted already and, if all goes according to plan, I will have some potted little beauties to stick in my garden come summer! While I will not have the same abundance as the castle garden has, I will be overjoyed if I have a couple dozen healthy plants growing amongst my other flowers at the lake which will be plenty to make sweet little bouquets with... Have you been starting any flowers from seeds this year?
I know I promised a post about my finished patchwork coverlets this week, but I only managed to take some photos of one of them yesterday due to poor indoor light because of rainy weather; however, I should have this post ready just after the weekend... Thanks for visiting and if you're gardening this weekend -- happy gardening!