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Appalachia Through My Eyes – Granny’s Zinnas


My life in Appalachia - Granny and her zinnas

I’ve never seen Granny’s zinnas as pretty as they are this year. She saves her seeds from year to year by snipping off the dried seed heads in late fall and storing them in an old paper envelope till the next spring when she plants them again.

Granny is continuing to improve and has even felt good enough to can a few runs of greenbeans over the last week. We were able to get her one of those life alert things and she wears it every day.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Ray C. Presley
    January 12, 2022 at 9:24 am

    My Mother loved flowers of any kind. She often planted Zinnas and the old standby – Four O’Clocks or “Pretty m Nights.” I later learned that her pronouncing was just the way they talked in her area of Tennessee, the “proper” way being “Pretty By Nights.”

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette-Dean
    September 18, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Just seeing zinnias makes me smile. My grandmother always grew them and she called them “Old Maids” rather than zinnias. I always plant them in my flower garden and it makes me remember grandma.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    September 17, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Zinnias are such a gorgeous flower, a colorful, easy-growing addition to any garden. I also have Four O’Clocks planted along the foundation of the house to hide the blocks. They free-seed each fall and come up vigorously each spring, so with no help at all, you have beautiful flowers each year.
    Prayers for Granny. Sorry to hear she’s feeling poorly.
    A Life-Alert is a good idea. An elderly neighbor of ours fell in her house earlier this summer, and her daughter didn’t find her til the next day. She’s doing ok, and her daughter has moved in with her so she’s not alone over there anymore.
    I’m beginning to think all of us oldies need either a Life Alert, or one of those air horns they have a sports games, to alert someone if we need help. The air horns aren’t expensive, and are worth it if for nothing more than peace of mind.
    Prayers everyone has a great week ahead, and a safe one too.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    September 17, 2017 at 2:02 am

    Zinnias are our favorite flowers. We, too, save the seeds for re-sowing. We also save our Marigold seeds. Perennials offer no variety or beauty that compares to annuals and a bed of mixed color zinnias makes any lawn or garden more beautiful.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2017 at 1:39 am

    The zinnias are lovely!!! I’ve got rudbeckia (tall relatives of black-eyed susans) blooming and happy and nearly as tall as the house. I also have some lovely deep reddish-purple hollyhocks still blooming. Everything else is starting to wind down for fall I think. This horribly hot summer has been hard on everything. I’ve not gotten to spend much time outside at all as I don’t do 90-100s very well. The roses are putting on what will be one of their last hurrahs in the back yard but they are so lovely! I always save seeds too… except a few years back the little nuthatches were eating the seeds from my Cosmos one morning and I sat and watched them. Watched them after work that night too…then thought, perhaps I should get a few seeds for me… but the hungry little guys had nibbled every single one…and I’d been saving seeds from cosmos for 10 years. I am going to order a package of seed so I can have more again. I do love them so gentle and happy looking with their pink and white flowers and those lacey leaves. I went and got some tomatoes today at a farm close by and will be drying some for winter since I didn’t get a garden in at all this year due to health issues and the weather. Love always,

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 16, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    I’m glad your mother is feeling better….Nothing like a beautiful, blue sunny shy with a bit of a nip in the air to put a “skip in your step” so to speak!
    Mom saved flower seeds as did my grandmothers and aunts…Zinnias where a favorite as well as marigold, 4’oclocks, asters and Fall ageratum…Also, anything that could be dug and separated this time of year was on the list to transfer so she could expand her flower borders, garden, etc.
    All my iris and day lilies need dividing and transplanting…as long as you have time (usually six weeks) before the ground freezes they usually won’t bolt out of the ground…Of course a good heavy mulch helps along this process….My twice blooming azaleas are in full bloom right now…Making the humming birds happy as larks…HA
    One of my grandmothers had those big Dahlias and always dug them up and stored in the cellar…Mine never did well, I think there Is an old thyme way of handling mountain Dahlias that I never learned from her….Her Dahlias came up the next Spring after replanting more beautiful than the year before….
    Thanks for the memories…
    PS….Here comes the heat back all next week….Mother Nature is such a tease!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    My Mamaw taught how to enjoy pretty flowers, along with her garden her flower beds caught special attention, we use to have a mix of zinnias, and cosmos flowers, and kept the seed every year. Good to hear she’s feeling better.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    September 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    The zinnias are beautiful! So happy to hear Granny is doing better!

  • Reply
    Phyllis Schmitz
    September 16, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    The zinnias are beautiful and bring thoughts of long ago when my mother
    had them in all bright colors along the Oregon coast.

  • Reply
    September 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I never knew much about all the different flowers, but I Love seeing them. Granny’s are beautiful! I never thought much about mama wanting flowers. She was crippled in the left side and had no feeling there. But I watched Daddy plant some lavander trees and a Snowball tree across from her kitchen window for her to look at. I’m sure she appreciated that.
    I’m glad Louzine is feeling better, prayers sure do help! Looking forward to seeing everybody at Blairsville on the 22nd. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    My mother and Grammaw Breedlove both saved seeds and always has a yard full of flowers. And a houseful. Every sunny winder had a blooming flower in it. If you wanted to look out the winder to see the blooming flowers in the yard you had to move a blooming flower out of the winder.
    Most of the people I grew up around pronounced the word flower like /flare/. We didn’t. We pronounce it the same more like /flau·er/. The ending sound /were/ that mainstream English uses is replaced by a simple /er/ sound. Our comes out /ou·er/ instead of /ou·were/. Hour is the same.
    To make it simpler, try saying hour without moving your lips. That is exactly the same way my family pronounces it. There are many other words that contain that same sound. Modern English seems to have lost it except for a few hangeroners like me.
    Power and flour require you to move your lips initially but words like our, sour, hour, scour, tower, cower and shower don’t require you to move your them at all. So there you go David Templeton, throw that little disc thing away. You are a ventriloquist!

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    September 16, 2017 at 9:30 am

    So beautiful! They are one of my very favorites. I need to save some of mine for seeds for next year–always mean to and often forget.
    Miss Cindy, my granny was the same way. Her yard was full of beauty. I always remember the huge peonies she had when she lived up the road from us and the running rose going up the porch.
    I’m glad Granny is doing better and glad she’s got the life alert now.

  • Reply
    September 16, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I save my zinna seeds every year too. The area where I plant them is a huge spot that used to be a part of the vegetable garden. Mine are called California Giants, I think. I mixed in some double zinna seeds this year and they were gorgeous. They almost look like a carnation-just like the one shown in Granny’s yard. It’s great to hear Granny is back up and well enough to can beans!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 16, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Yep, I have zinnias naturally reseeded from last year. Had a stump hole from an old weeping willow. Kept thinking about what I might plant there. But while I was thinking a single zinnia came up on its own. I found out just how big they can get, about 3 feet across and about the same high! It made a brave showing until Irma broke it off and sent it sailing across the yard. But I still have several smaller ones coming along.
    I’m glad your Mom is well again (for her age, I mean. Seems I have to start adding that phrase to my own thoughts about myself. I miss that guy who could work 10-12 hours. Took me two days to clean up from Irma but there was a time I would have done it in one. Time is happening to me.)

  • Reply
    September 16, 2017 at 8:10 am

    So glad that both you and your Mum are on the mend. Enjoy a wonderful and beautiful fall in the Smokies. Also, have a great Fall Festival at the John Campbell Folk School. Wish I was there, as I missed it when I visited in 2015, when it was cancelled. Cancelled because of heavy rains following another hurricane. Take care all. P.S. Love the Zinnias…a favorite of my Mama.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    September 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

    I always saved my zinnia and marigold seeds but since I moved to the woods I have given up growing sun loving flowers.
    I miss them.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

    So happy to hear Granny is feeling better. Her zennias are lovely. My cousin grows them and saves her seeds, hers are gradually becoming all one color.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 16, 2017 at 7:07 am

    I saw those flowers, Tip, last time I went by Granny’s. They really are beautiful this year. When I told her How much I liked them she told me all about them. They remind me of my grandmother’s yard, she had all kinds of flowers including zennas.
    Any time I see zennas I think of times gone by and my granny’s yard!

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