Food for the Soul

Brighten someone’s day with home-grown flowers.
My cutting garden last year, including: Hot Crayon Colors zinnias from Renee’s Garden Seeds; an electric orange gladiolus that I’ve been saving year to year (it first came in a bag of mixed colors); Green Star Gladiolus; Verbena bonariensis.

It looks like another banner year for vegetable gardening. Results from the National Gardening Association’s 2009 Gallup Survey predicts a 19 percent increase — 43 million people are planning to grow a vegetable garden!

That’s music to our ears and we’re doing everything we can think of to fan the flames of this vegetable gardening enthusiasm (be sure to check out our new Kitchen Garden Planner).

The tough economic times are one of the reasons for this resurgence of interest in growing food. But we’ve seen the trend gathering speed for several years now. The appeal of home-grown veggies is really about freshness, flavor, organic and local. Of course there’s also the simple thrill of filling a harvest basket with food that you’ve grown yourself!

Hopefully you’ll be one of the millions of people growing some of your own food this summer. But how about growing a little food for the soul?

The other day, one of my workmates was telling me about the cutting garden he’s going to be planting this year, full of dahlias, zinnias, glads and asters. “Flowers are an affordable luxury,” said Tom. “A couple big dahlia tubers might cost me $12 or so, but over the course of the summer I’ll get dozens of flowers and weeks of bouquets.”

And what’s Tom going to do with all those bouquets? He’s planning to indulge his family, friends and neighbors with a bounty … of beauty! “It’s so easy to brighten someone’s day with a bouquet of flowers,” he said. “Especially in times like these, making people feel happier is really important!”

Though I have plenty of flowers in my own garden, I’m hoping maybe I’ll get on Tom’s list this summer. There’s no such thing as too many flowers — and few things better than being surprised with a bouquet that someone has grown and picked with you in mind!

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5 Responses to Food for the Soul

  1. Chiot's Run says:

    Those are beautiful. I’m a huge fan of zinnias as well!

  2. PJH says:

    I’m inspired by your new garden planner to try growing more vegetables this year. Such fun dropping scallions and tomatoes and eggplants into the grid. My boss says she’s never gardened, but once she saw your email and started playing around with your planner, she’s been inspired to start! Thank you for this fun, easy to use tool.

  3. Julia says:

    Every summer I find myself paying in gold for heirloom tomatoes at WFM. Now that my porch is full sun, guess what, I am planting my own tomatoes. What a great feeling. I will be making a full fledged container potager this summer, mixing my flowers with my vegies. About cutting gardens: I have found that full size Zinnias, like the ones in the photo above, are just about the best source of free bouquets that I know. One summer I was able to harvest 3 giant bundles of flowers a week from my small bed of Zinnias. As cut flowers they last for 2-3 weeks in a vase with regular water changes.

  4. I just ordered some new zinnias to try out this year: Cactus-Flowered Zinnias from Select Seeds. Here’s the link to the offer and a photo:

  5. I am in the process of planting zinnias I buy through You can buy many flowers in bulk. I do love the catus zinnias. Since I do still life floral photography I am trying to plant a lot of flowers. Today I posted on my blog an image I did of one my last year’s zinnias. Drop by and “smell the flowers” at

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