In a Vase, on Monday – just Zinnias

After a slow start my Zinnia patch has finally come into its own – pushing out taller stems and bigger blooms every day, it seems. Most of the flowers seem to be purple this year – perhaps that’s the colour I collected most seeds from last fall, or perhaps that’s the strongest gene to come through after a few years of open pollination in my garden. No matter, I think they’re beautiful and these Giant Swallowtail butterflies seem to think they’re worth a look as well. I’ve used a few asparagus fronds to fill out the vase a bit.

I love marigolds (Tagetes) – both the fragrance and the colour variation (never mind all the garden folklore about how they deter pests) and wanted to stuff my ikebana with them this week. I also wanted to showcase the latest showstopper in my garden – the Hyacinth bean vine (Lablab pupureus).

Then I spotted my Borage, face down in the garden. This started as a seed in a giveaway package and it has struggled all summer – sending up flower stalks only to have them eaten away before blooming. I thought at first rabbits had developed a taste for the fuzzy leaves and stems; unlikely though eh? When I picked up this stem I discovered the caterpillar, and wanted to honour the valiant effort of this plan.

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting IAVOM and giving gardeners around the world an opportunity to share their flower designs. Have a great week everyone, and stay safe.


  1. I always think of borage as a tea party in a plant. The leaves taste like cucumber (finger sandwiches, anyone?) and the flowers are sweet, like petits fours. I was so surprised when a friend took me out to her prairie acre and encouraged me to taste them.

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  2. Zinnias are such stars (although I am not sure that I am as keen on the bi-colours) and the asparagus ferns set them off nicely – I could have taken time to search for some foliage for mine, I suppose. I have often seen butterflies on mine here too, but not giant swallowtails!! I love the tagetes in your ikebana vase, and what a difference the sprigs of borage make! I have grown some from seed this year too and am keen to try out the taste of the blooms now!!

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  3. Glad to see you are planting for pollinators, Chris. 😉 Did you ID the caterpillar? Maybe a lovely butterfly someday? I’ll have to add borage to my list for next year.
    Love the zinnias – such a great summer flower. The Monarchs have found mine, which always makes me happy to give them a boost before they wing away south.

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    1. The caterpillar looks like an ordinary tent caterpillar of which we have a huge number this year…but I can’t be certain so will ask a few people…when I took the butterfly photos there were two monarchs and the swallowtail flitting about in/on the Zinnias – so cool!

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  4. You did a much better job of coordinating the colors of your zinnias than I managed to do this year. The borage is a nice touch to embellish the marigolds.

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  5. I love the Asparagus Fern with the Zinnias and the Zinnias. I have just planted Borage seed, and have read it can be a four foot tall perennial here.? We will see. I get the Giant Swallowtails here, they host on Citrus trees and the farmers hate them as they eat all the leaves.

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