The question is: How did I end up with all these pink zinnias?

I didn’t order pink zinnias. I specifically ordered a packet of deep purple and a packet of gold zinnias.

I so loved the yellow-gold zinnias I planted last year. But even way back in the spring the seeds were already sold out.

But of course everything is sold out this year. Anything having to do with “home” goes about as soon as it’s listed. And that includes outdoor items.

I had to wait weeks to find a desk and a chair.

I recall I ended up at the Lowes website after looking everywhere else, finally found a chair I liked and put it in my Cart. Then I paid with Paypal.

A few minutes later I was still idly looking at the site and saw a chair I liked better.

So I called and asked how I could switch to the second one, as I already had it in my Cart. They explained that the charge might take a few days or more to be taken off, but in the meantime I could still order the second chair.

I feel it’s safer oftentimes to pay with Paypal and then just pay that bill instead of always using my debit or credit card. Hackers get more creative every day it seems.

Anyway so I rushed back over to my Cart, clicked on Buy, and it was sold out. In those maybe five minutes it had sold out.

I was so disappointed. So I had to start my search all over again.

It was frustrating putting things in my Cart at various sites, only to find they were already gone when I went to pay for them. I rushed through various sites every single day for weeks trying to buy a desk and chair.

It felt a bit like eBay where I used to bid on items and wait to see if I got outbid and then cheering when I sometimes got the item I’d bid on.

Anyway, back to the zinnias. I’m a little disappointed that I did not get the colors I planned on. I was looking forward to deep purple flowers. But to me any zinnia is beautiful, plain as it may seem to some.

Zinnias are just your garden variety (literally) plant that can handle sun better than many other plants.

Except this year even the zinnias look poorly at times.

I was surprised that this year I was already losing plants to the heat in May. May! When before it was always at least July or August.

The petunias above filled out the 2 raised containers so nicely. And they were so beautiful. But before I knew it they were burned to a crisp. And that was despite one of the containers being in partial shade and my diligently watching over them and watering when needed.

No doubt about it, folks, it is getting hotter every year. I can recall where on the patio I’ve placed container plants in the 6 summers I’ve lived here. And I’ve ended up moving them back farther and farther toward the tree branches that hang over my fence.

I could quickly see that my two trees in containers, Jade the Gingko Biloba Butterfly tree and my lovely Japanese Maple, were getting their leaves scorched in the sun. So they’re now mostly in shade and doing quite well.

One of the best decisions I’ve made was to put a few trees in containers to enjoy.

I’ve decided next spring things will be different. I’m ordering seeds for flowers that are plentiful like the zinnias. And maybe I’ll end up with the right colors.

I spent a good bit of money on pansies that didn’t make it a month, which was a huge disappointment.

I’ve added every year to my perennials. I think I have enough now I won’t need any more unless we have a bitterly cold winter and they don’t come back. Adding perennials is a very good investment in your garden. They cost a little more, but it’s worth it because they come back year after year.

Next year I will plant seeds among the perennials instead of buying annual plants at the nursery.

I have plenty of sedum (succulents) plants scattered around the patio. And they typically come back year after year.

Unfortunately my yellow rose plant is looking pretty scorched and I’m afraid I might lose it.

I can’t move it because it is in the heaviest pot on my patio and I don’t know if there are plant caddies even big enough to put underneath it. And even if there are I certainly couldn’t lift it. I’d have to have someone else to do it, and that would be one heavy plant for just about anyone.

And where would I move it to even if I could? There’s mostly sun on the patio except for about 5 feet over by the other side of the fence and I’ve already got plants packed in there I’m trying to save.

This is the first year that the leaves are turning brown and tired. The rose bush briefly put out blooms and then stopped despite my adding organic rose fertilizer to it. It’s in the corner by the gate where I thought it would do well.

The vegetables I planted from seed have done much better than the ones I bought as plants. The ones from seed look much healthier. The cucumber leaves are about a foot wide. While the cucumber plant I bought is looking kind of sickly.

I’ve used jute to tie more of it up nearly every day. It would trail into the bird bath and along the concrete. I didn’t really think through putting a tall piece of garden art next to the tub it’s in to use to lift it up instead of buying something more appropriate.

So I just keep getting creative and tying it up every which way to hold it up, as you can see from the above photo.

I’m quite pleased with all the perennials in my blue raised garden. So there’s that. I’ve had this raised garden about four years and now I’m only having to add a few annuals to fill in the gaps.

So how are things going in your garden? Is the sun doing your plants in?


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  1. It’s wonderful how passionate you are with your garden. Finding something in life which brings you so much joy is a godsend. Actually, I can feel your love for your fur babies too. I read your older post about raised gardens and it reminds me of my Grandma. She was in a wheelchair later in life and she had raised beds on her deck so she could grow a few veggies. She cooked in restaurants her entire life and “fresh” produce was important for her. I remember how much she enjoyed such a simple pleasure such as picking lettuce and such. Stay well.

  2. Just about every single thing we do, business-wise, will need to be different and more difficult too. But we can learn quick right? Start hunting about 6 months before you need something…and maybe you will receive it. However, I ordered some TP from Amazon…must be at least 3 months ago or more…still not here. However, we DO still have other choices…and I no longer need that one. Big huge struggle yesterday and today with a mis-delivered package that used FedEx to deliver. The crazy nut delivered my box as well as something for a neighbor who lives above us. Well, guess what…I guess they must be blind…HUGE big “A” above one bldg and a huge “C” above ours…too hard I guess. So just leave it any ole place…fortunately, if I order using my PO Box, which involved more effort to go get, but still…at least there no FedEx to deal with. Worse than all this was the run around and even lies from FedEx however. Sigh…I am a person VERY prone to patronize less than huge companies. I explained to them AT LENGTH today how important it is to reduce stress in life now…and one way I do so, is to change to buying from a different company etc. By the way, the people who answer the phones usually are supposed to get you OFF the phone within 15 minutes max…so my goal, when they are not being helpful, is to keep them on the line at least 20-30 minutes. TIME IS MONEY…some are slower to learn that than others!! ARGH!! And be persistent, until SOMEONE will solve the problem.

    1. Same thing happened to me yesterday. I order online so I don’t have to be out around people. But the Amazon guy took it to the office. It said it was delivered via email so I figured it was sitting in front of the shed or down at the office. It was at the office. So I had to go around the kid down there who doesn’t wear a mask and defeated the whole purpose.

  3. Brenda . . . I remember being concerned at the time they removed your trees that it may dramatically change your “patio climate” and I suspect that is the case. Shade cloth may be your only option to replace the loss of the shade trees.

  4. Brenda, have you ever planted portulaca or purslane? They love the heat and sun. I bet that would grown well on your patio and give you lots of color. Sometimes it will come back, sometimes not. You would have to buy the little plants, though. The seeds are really tiny and hard to get them to come up

  5. Your patio garden looks so lovely! We’re finding that full sun is almost unbearable now, even for sun living plants. And there’s a limited amount of shade on our back deck fir containers to retreat to. This weekend we planted many herb plants in containers are are hopeful they will all survive.

  6. Do you have a photo of the gold zinnia from the past? I would love to see their color. I never heard of gold zinnias. They must be lovely!

  7. Didn’t you have a large tree removed recently?
    The crepe myrtles are blooming in my back yard. The blooms were in just the top last week but now the are spreading all over. I planted Caladiums bulbs late this year because the store was not open.
    We have had no rain in June until last Friday night. I had my wheelbarrow on the patio. It was full on Saturday afternoon. It has rained twice since then with more rain in the forecast for this week.

  8. Concentrate on sedums, so many varieties. I love the ice plant I just bought. They take the sun and thrive on less water than annuals.

  9. Hi Brenda. I went to the Tulsa County OSU extension service website and found this PDF of drought tolerant plants:

    Granted, it probably is for planting in yards rather than containers. But if you go to the extension service website, there is a contact place that lists a horticulture expert who probably has information for container gardening. If you go to the extension service office they always have great free handouts on gardening and other things, including recipes. This makes me realize I haven’t been to the extension service office in the county we now live in and I should give them a visit to see what is available.

  10. Here in Metro Detrot, my normal, monthly water bill used to be $90.00 a month. Last month, $140.00 Food for my husband or water for my plants. I may soon have to make a difficult decision soon.

  11. I know that you have invested a lot in those pots and plant caddies but you might consider a few more raised beds rather than containers. The containers just can’t retain enough water in 100 degree heat. This year, I had the same problems as you did finding seeds and plants in Michigan. Our weather has been just awful here. We had snow in May, a heatwave, a late frost, a torrential wind and rain storm and power failure in June. I lost all my difficult to find annuals in the late frost and had to go try to find replacement plants. Then DTE cut all the trees after the storm and ruined my flower beds. What was left was torn up by squirrels who no longer have trees to live in anymore. Raised beds filled with perennials and lots of red pepper flakes are easier to maintain. I don’t have large raised beds. They are just enough. i added a small soaker hose to them. So much easier than trying to water in the heat. This year has been just crazy for plant lovers and gardeners. But what your photos do show is your true love of gardening. Don’t worry about what you lose but enjoy what you have. I had to learn that the hard way. My son came over for Father’s Day and said, “Mom, your flowers are always so beautiful. You always have a perfect yard.” Little did he know the trials and tribulations that I encountered this year. I didn’t even bother to tell him. I just smiled and said. “Thank you.” Have a blessed day and may all your plant bloom profusely.

    1. I just came back in from moving my potting bench in front of the galvanized plant garden facing the alley. I moved my trees around a bit and I’ll watch to see if the sun gets to them. But that Japanese maple has pretty wide branches and can really help the potted plants unless the sun scorches the leaves. We’ll see.

      1. Just remembered Miracle-Gro Water Storing Crystals which I’ve used in the past. Wonder if it would help your pots retain water longer? Amazon carries it and it’s $4 cheaper than Walmart.

  12. Park seed company has several different colors of zinnias. I ordered $50 work of packets for my garden. Please check them out. Thanks.

  13. My potted plants are running about 50/50. Half are doing well and the others look pathetic. Our weather here in south, central Virginia has been so bizarre with erratic temperature changes and heavy rains. Just had an influx of Japanese beetles that tore up my morning glories and moonflower! Seems as though each year it is getting more difficult to grow nice plants. With all the rain ( and flooding) we have had, even the vegetable garden is struggling. Looks like I will be incorporating more house plants inside to enjoy!

    1. It’s for sure gotten more difficult for me each year. Hotter and hotter every season. And now my pretty settee that I like to have in that corner under the tree branches is being used to shield plants in the middle of the patio!

  14. The sun where I live has been brutal for this time of year. We’ve been getting temperatures in the high 80s with very high dew points that make its oppressive to be outdoors for long. The sun burns my skin if I’m out too long, it may be because of some of the meds I take for my high blood pressure and heart. But everybody complains about having issues breathing except the youngest of the young. The air is so wet and heavy you feel like you’re in a steam bath constantly. The hostas I bought specifically to go underneath the picture window at the front of my house that get hours of sun in the afternoon were scorched! I was watering and watering but my old hose died so I wasn’t able to let the sprinkler run on low for hours at a time; am waiting for a new-fangled hose to be delivered but it is evidently one of those things from China and they don’t tell you that until after you order and then you’re told you may have to wait as long as 8 weeks! Around here – summer could be over in 8 weeks! We are not getting the nice dependable steady rains weeks after week like I remember from 40 years ago when I first started gardening. Yes, the climate has definitely changed; it’s gotten much hotter here in the summers, the dew points are higher than they ever used to be so it’s hard to breathe outside even if you’re just sitting still it’s uncomfortable, and the rain is unreliable. When it does rain we tend now to get torrential downpours which are not helpful as most of it runs off instead of soaking an inch at a time into the lawn and garden beds. I am hand watering right now daily and it’s a pain in the neck (literally)! It’s been so hot and dry, even the lawns have stopped growing, and this is the first year that has happened this early in the season. It has cut down on my cutting, at least. But the grass looks like straw. The whole point of living in SE Wisconsin is because we’re supposed to have verdant green everywhere surrounding us. Not this year, not unless you are willing to spend a fortune watering and either have hoses (arrrgggghhhhhh) or a sprinkler system already installed. And even though I live right on top of Lake Michigan, water can run $200 a quarter or even more if I water the gardens and the grass. But I must have green around me. I could never live in a desert climate.

    1. I just pay $25 for water here. I use one of those squiggly hoses. The others are too hard on my back as they are heavy to drag around. The ones I get are very lightweight.

  15. My garden is doing well this year here in WV. We haven’t had many scorching days, but we have had a lot of rain! I did have to bring in my hanging plants and container plants in early May because we had freeze warnings. The plants I brought in the house started to die because they were in the house for about a week and not in the right lighting conditions. Once I put them back out they perked up and now are flourishing!

  16. Yep gotta love the zinnias. I live where it’s regularly 110 plus and everything dries up and scorches. But not the zinnias. They just keep right on going. I plant them every year. They make the best cut flowers too. I have to agree, my plants started from seed are doing much better than nursery transplants. Wonder why that is.

  17. Brenda, Your garden is gorgeous, pink zinnias and all. As an FYI I have seen some zinnia pots with mature plants in the colors that you love at my Home Depot. Have you been to yours or maybe another garden center? They may even be having a sale since the season is soon coming to a close. As for those trees in pots I wish I could incorporate that into my garden somehow.You’ve got me thinking!
    Hope you’re having beautiful days where you live, ours have been just glorious, albeit hot, here in NJ!

    1. I don’t go out to stores. And at this time of year whatever I planted would probably die. I’ve found you need to plant in the spring so the roots can get strong before the plant has to battle horrid heat conditions.

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