Success or Failure – Two Ways to See

Today I was lucky enough to hang around with my one (you heard me one) zinnia that grew from seed.

Now this little flower survived drought, rainstorms with hail, two cats using its environs for a litterbox and a rather hungry woodchuck who has since left the house. Of course that is the subject of another blog. but for now it was rather nice to see the little pink bloom among all the green and the aroma of fennel and mint which surrounds it in its flower garden.

For this flower garden wasn’t one in the expected sense of the word. It is actually a mad wild tangle of growth which includes wild amaranth, jimson weed and all sorts of jewelweed and vines (of course the vines will also be a subject of another blog).

Still this pink jewel grew here in the past couple days, despite all the leafy impediments it encountered.

My initial reaction was it looks good and has a nice sturdy stem and obviously is a pretty hearty specimen. Zinnias always give me great pleasure and I was so happy to see this one survive out of a hopeful packet’s sown in the spring.

Now I thought while contemplating the best angle to capture the color and texture of the flower, how the fact that it is a lonely being can be considered a garden failure. But that is not my style. Failure or success, two opposing concepts. 

In the sense of being a negative, the zinnia section of my flower garden that didn’t happen, was an abysmal failure. It was devoured by the now gone woodchuck. None of my seedlings ever got a decent start in life. They were sown among the tomatoes in the vegetable garden. This was my idea to not spread veggies among ornamentals, but to do the opposite. Put the ornamentals in among the veggies. What a radical idea! Only problem, they fell easy prey to a foraging mammal who had nothing better to do and no thought of emigrating yet.

So in the sense of being a failure, next season has to be approached more creatively. With my new dog, Missy, on the prowl, there will be no predatory behavior by Mr. Marmos. So I can look forward to the big, fuzzy plants next year and know they will be safe.

In the sense of being a success, what is better than being a lone survivor among many enemies, and having no like kin? It must be a lonely life to be a pink bonnet among the spiky seedheads of fennel and the moist, crawling roots of mint. Towering above triumphantly, the zinnia sprouts its side-buds, its coarse leaves, and takes no notice of its crowded surroundings.

So I go out and clear a space around it. I cut, dig, pull, anything to expose more of the stem and make it easier for the butterflies, themselves on the verge of extinction for lack of habitat, to land upon it and glean their sugary sustenance.

Hopefully, there won’t be such a dearth of zinnias next season. My zinnias will tower strong, furry and proud over various annuals. Pot marigolds, petunias, whatever strikes us as colorful and cheerful specimens.

So grow tall and big, little pink one. Soon you will be joined by your children and grandchildren. We’ll have a great time with the pinwheels of color you provide us.

There will be more.

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