Life in these strange times: zephyranthes and zinnias

It’s May, and it’s time to start thinking about what you want to grow in your garden. The pandemic is still going, but plants don’t seem to be affected by it. Also, growing plants will give you some level of happiness. It will be a great activity for you to do with the kids, since school is now closed for the remainder of the academic year here in New York State. 

Here, along the U.S.-Canada border, it is too early to plant because the threat of frost is still very real. It is never too early to plan for joyous colors in your garden.

It is a dark and gloomy day today, and the forecast calls for rain. It rained for much of the day yesterday. I sit inside and I listen to the birdsongs. Birds don’t seem to care if it’s raining or not. They just go on with their songs, regardless of weather. I like to encourage the birds to come here to sing, so I put seed in the feeder. One of the really cool things is that the birds can be messy eaters. Last year, they kicked seed out of the feeder, and a sunflower grew in the flower bed.

What kind of flowers would be fun to grow? Well, it depends on what kind of flowerbed you have. Do you have a pollinator garden? Try swamp milkweed for the monarch butterflies.

Other plants that would do well in a pollinator garden would include Joe-Pye Weed, bee balm, coneflowers, brown-eyed Susans, and goldenrod.

If you have a shady area in your garden, I would suggest growing hostas. They come in a wide variety of colors. If you already have hostas in your garden, this would be a good time to divide the plants. You could plant them elsewhere in your garden. Under a tree would be a great place for hostas.

In your flower beds, try to pick decorative, but not invasive, plants. There are invasive plants that look nice but, if they escape from the garden, will wreak havoc. They can be really pretty, but they will crowd out native plants and they are not very attractive to pollinators. These include purple loosestrife and Japanese barberry. The yellow loosestrife, on the other hand, is a native plant, and it looks nice in gardens. In late summer, it can be cut back.

In a sunny spot, you have many choices. So just go with your favorites. My favorites include zinnias, portulacas, marigolds, petunias, cornflower, or whatever I should happen to find at the nursery. Who knows? That might even include the zephyranthes, which I can’t pronounce. It is a member of the amaryllis family, known as zephyranthe grandiflora, and it is characterized as having pink and white blossoms. 

Happy Gardening!

3 thoughts on “Life in these strange times: zephyranthes and zinnias”

  1. Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

    Love seeing your flowers… something good to see for a change. They reminded me of my mother's flower gardens when they bloomed so pretty years ago. I always liked zinnia's but she didn't… said they were often considered a poor flower… not sure what she was meaning.

  2. Hmmm….. i beg to differ with "growing plants will give you some level of happiness." … i don't enjoy that, but i do enjoy walking through the village and looking at other people's gardens. My mom OTOH loves gardening and is a master gardener… but at 89 due to severe arthritis is very limited in what she can do, her age finally caught up to her… when she was my age she was climimbing our 46 high Adirondack peaks, which i wouldn't even attempt…
    As far as planting, Mom planted lettuce and spinach yesterday … there are many things you can plant now that aren't frost-sensitive. And i saw my first wildflowers the other day, coltsfoot (which i think came here from Europe) and myrtle aka vinca which some consider invasive but we have some growing like a groundcover and so do my neighbors… it has spread. It has pretty purple flowers which i posted a photo of the other day.

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