Thursday, November 4, 2010

An old Friend - Revisited

Many years ago, I grew a mix of Zinnias called "Persian Carpet". I distinctly remember that the plants grew well and I really enjoyed the blooms. But for some reason I quit planting that variety. This Spring, while shopping the seed racks and planning my garden, I stumbled upon packets of "Persian Carpet" Zinnias from Renee's Seeds. I instantly knew that I wanted to give them a try again and grabbed two packages.

As soon as my plants started to bloom, I remembered why I had enjoyed them so very much. The delicate, but strong 24" plants become just covered with 1" multi-colored blooms. Like all zinnias, the more you cut, the more they reward you with new blooms. The colors in the "Persian Carpet" mix lean heavily toward the yellows and oranges, but there are also a few blooms in maroon and cream to add interest. Some blooms are solid in color though you will find most are two toned. The plants are airy and more delicate looking than traditional zinnias varieties like "State Fair". I have also found that the small bloom size has mostly prevented my plants from falling over after an Oregon rain shower passes by.

As a funny aside to my story, you will notice in the above picture that I grew two rows of "Persian Carpet" this year. I really only meant to have one. Some time during planting I got confused over which seed packets I had already planted. So instead of one row of zinnias and one row of bachelor buttons, I got two rows of zinnias. I sure thought that the bachelor buttons had strange looking foliage as they grew..oops! Below are just a few examples of the multitude of beautiful blooms found in this mix.

Yet another selling point with this variety is that once it begins to bloom, it doesn't stop until frost. Since we have been experiencing a mostly mild Fall this year, my plants are still loaded with blooms. I have cut  for a bouquet the last two weekends and have easily found enough quality blooms still on the plants. And once cut, if you keep the water in the vase full - they are heavy drinkers - the blooms will truly last a whole week. What's not to love ?!

 If you are thinking about giving this variety a try next year, I would recommend Renee's Seeds.  I had a chance to hear owner Renee Shepard talk a few years back. During her talk she mentioned that her seed packets cost a little more than the "average" seed packet. Then she stated why. She explained that when she sold varieties that were a mix, such as bachelor buttons or my "Persian Carpet" zinnias, the gardener who planted them could fully expect to get a full representation of color and forms from her seeds. She pays her seed growers more and demands equal seed from all variety forms. Most large seed companies do not do this. In turn, we the gardener pay a little more for Renee's seed packets- though I don't think $2.79 a package is bad- and for that we actually will get what is pictured on the cover of the seed packet.

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