Z as in Zinnia

Z as in Zinnia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Zinnia

Species: Zinnia elegans

Common names: common zinnia, youth-and-old-age Swedish name: zinnia

Zinnia is a genus of annuals, shrubs, and sub-shrubs native to scrub and dry grassland primarily in North America, with a few species in South America. Members of the genus are notable for their solitary long-stemmed flowers but some have a lax habit with spreading stems that mound over the surface of the ground. The flowers come in a variety of bright colors and a wide range of appearances, from a single row of petals, to a dome shape. Zinnias seem to be a favorite of butterflies, and other pollinators like hummingbirds. Making them valuable as wildlife plants in the garden. Zinnias are a desirable companion plant, benefiting plants that are grown with it. A number of species of zinnia are popular flowering plants, cultivars and hybrids are common. Their varied habits allow for uses in several parts of a garden.

Zinnia elegans is an annual flowering plant grown in the summer. It is one of the most familiar zinnias. They are popular garden flowers for many reasons. Wild Zinnia elegans is a desert plant found in Mexico. Garden varieties may escape and naturalize.

Zinnia flower. Z as in Zinnia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Zinnia

Description: Zinnia elegans has hundreds of cultivars in many flower colors, sizes and forms. Flower colors range from white and cream to pinks, reds, and purples, to green, yellow, apricot, orange, salmon, and bronze. Some are striped, speckled or bicolored. There are single, semi-double, and double forms and even pom-pom forms resembling dahlias. Sizes range from dwarf to about 1 meter tall. The smaller varieties can be grown in containers.

How to grow: Zinnia elegans is grown in fertile, humus-rich, and well-drained soil, in full sun with good air circulation. They grow best in dry, warm, frost-free regions, and are drought-tolerant. Deadhead spent blossoms to continue flowering. They will set seed each year so make sure you collect some. Propagation by seed.

Wrap-up of the A to Z bouquet

April has passed by and the final post is now written and hopefully read. I have made a category for all my posts published during this month, called A to Z challenge. There you will find all the plants from the Amaranthus to the Zinnia. If you search for a recipe or a craft just search for the category in the sidebar. I hope you will stop by and pay a visit even though the challenge of 2015 is finished.

Thank you! A to Z Challenge

I want to thank the participants of the challenge for sharing your posts. I have found a diversity of blogs and bloggers from all around the world. Which have been enriching and joyful. I have a lot of catch up to do since it was impossible to read every post and visit every blog during this month.

Thanks to the hosts and team behind the challenge for your response and a well administrated challenge. I had so much fun.

I am also thankful for every visit, like and comment. My gratitude is beyond words.

Participant 613 – over and out!

 


Challenge completed…

T as in Tropaeolum

T as in Tropaeolum. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Tropaeolaceae

Genus: Tropaeolum

Species: Tropaeolum majus

Common names: garden nasturtium, Indian cress, monks cress Swedish name: indiankrasse

Tropaeolum is a genus of roughly 80 species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants. It is the only genus in the family Tropaeolaceae commonly known as nasturtium. They received their common name because they produce an oil that is similar to that of watercress (Nasturtium officinale). Tropaeolum is native to South and Central America. It includes several very popular garden plants, the most commonly grown being T. majus, T. peregrinum and T. speciosum. Plants in this genus have showy, often intensely bright flowers, and rounded, shield-shaped leaves with the petiole in the centre. Nasturtiums are also considered widely useful as companion plants. Since they repel many garden pests and also attract beneficial predatory insects. As well as pollinators.

Tropaeolum majus is edible and has an intense taste reminding of watercress, especially the flowers. All parts of the plant can be used and are decorative in salads or adds taste to stir fried meals. The unripe seed pods can be dropped into spiced vinegar to produce a condiment and garnish, sometimes used in place of capers. The species are also grown as an ornamental plant and as a medicinal plant. Tropaeolum majus is widely cultivated, but it is listed as invasive in several areas, including Hawaii, Lord Howe Island, New Zealand.

Tropaeolum majus. T as in Tropaeolum. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Tropaeolum majus.

Description: Tropaeolum majus is a herbaceous annual plant with trailing stems. The varieties are usually divided into two subgroups depending on the way they grow – bush-like or climbing.

How to grow: Tropaeolum majus prefers full sun but tolerates partial shade. It grows best in well-drained and poor soil. Too nutritious soil or too much added nitrogen, discourage the blossom in advantage of the foliage. It is draught tolerant and is one of a few that thrives together with conifers. Propagation is by seed – it sets true seeds so the mature seed pods can be collected and sown next year. It is easy to grow and can be planted in containers.

A collection of beauty

I have gathered some of the varieties of garden nasturtium. Just to show one of the greatest joys of gardening – diversity and choice of seeds. Lean back and enjoy – Tropaeolum majus:

‘Night and Day’

‘Kaleidoscope Mix’

‘King Theodore’

‘Jewel of Africa’

‘Crimson Emperor’

‘Milkmaid’

Due to copyrights I could not add the pictures to my post but click on the variety and a new tab will open.
 


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Creative K Kids

Prepare for the green season

Winter. Photo: Charlotte, My Green Nook ©2014-2015

Winter. Photo: Charlotte, My Green Nook ©2014-2015

It is snowing outside and winter still lingers on. But there is much you can do to prepare for the green season. Though the garden, patio or balcony is at rest and last years blossom is just a memory. Now is the time to plan for this years garden. My suggestion is to write a to-do-list and plan for your purchases. Use your garden notes from last year to fresh up the memory – which plants were successful and which were disappointing?

I for instants had a good year for Dahlias, Begonias, Geraniums and Melothria scabra. My sweet peas were very leafy but did not blossom and I had a problem with Aleyrodidae, a small white flying garden pest.

Vintage Seed Pack Label. Photo: chicks57 @flickr

Now the seed companies are releasing their catalogues for 2015. Maybe you can find some new seeds to try or get hold of old cultural seeds. I love to look for heritage plants (in Sweden POM or Grönt kulturarv). The heritage plants often have a unique habitus, scent or touch. And are well worth to try. Use them in the garden to create a diversity and let these beauties live on along with our modern plants. Do not forget to use wildflowers maybe for a meadow or woodland patch in the garden. Also think of all insects like bees and butterflies. Today it is easy to find special collections for wildlife. If you have a plant bed that needs to get a fresh start I can recommend using Green Manure. That is plants with the ability to nourish and/or decompose the soil. Read more about Green Manure here.

Bee and willow. Photo: condesign @Pixabay

Bee and willow. Photo: condesign @Pixabay

And last but not least buy organic seeds and soils when possible. Use mechanical or biological pest control if you need. Soft soap and baking soda are two pesticides which I prefer to use if I have to. Reuse and repurpose as much as you can. It is both fun and creative – only your imagination sets the limits.

In my Pinterest collection you find some seeds that made me curious. Here are some examples: Chenopodium Capitatum (strawberry sticks), Cucumber ‘Crystal Apple’, Petunia multiflora ‘Old Fashioned Vining’, Daucus carota ‘Dara’. What do you plan for the garden this year? Any new projects or new plants?

I joined the Retro Re-pin Party #28 at:

2 Crochet Hooks