On our way up north today, we stopped in the coastal town of Northport where I had to practically jump out of the car to take photos of a garden filled with the largest Zinnias I've ever seen. Turns out I wasn't the only one impressed enough to whip out my camera. A man from southern Michigan who was snapping photos told me he also didn't recall ever seeing Zinnias this large before. From a distance they looked like Dahlias. They were all doubles with diameters the width of my hand - probably at least 5-6 inches!
As I snapped away at this front yard garden, a man stopped and asked my husband, who was in the car with our two little dogs, if they were Cairn terriers. The man, whose name was Mark, said he had a Cairn named Eddie and that they lived just up the street in a house that turned out to have a fabulous garden with lots of Hydrangeas, begonias, sculptures, mums, and the same Zinnias that were at the other house. (It turns out, Mark and his wife own the house with all the Zinnias in the front yard and rent it out.)
Mark told me the Zinnias are called "State Fair," and that his wife buys them in flats early in the year to plant in the gardens. According to the Hudson Valley Seed Library, it's a very old variety named at a time when attending state fairs was one of the best examples of a great family vacation. Indeed, according to the National Garden Bureau in their Year of the Zinnia brochure, Zinnia 'State Fair' was introduced by the Ferry Morse Seed Company in 1939. I love Zinnias, especially the cactus forms. But I will certainly be seeking out 'State Fair' next season to see if they will grow as large as those in Northport. To top off our encounter with another gardener and Cairn terrier fan, Mark brought Eddie out to meet our Abbie. They seem to have hit it off quite well.
|Abbie (left) meets Eddie.|
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