We had been in Fargo, ND..we were on our way home and with any luck at all the road construction crew would have the day off. We stopped at the first place just north of Zinnia corner. Far Guy was feeling shy and skeptical, he said " I will wait in the car." There were two vehicles in the driveway, and a gentleman was coming out of the house. I introduced myself and asked him if he knew who planted the Zinnias..wouldn't you know it! He was the planter! He was an older gentleman, perhaps my age, with grey hair and a grey mustache, his skin was all tanned..you could tell he spends most of his day outdoors. He wasn't very tall, about 5 feet 9 inches, he wore blue jeans and a blue checked shirt and was driving a red pickup truck.
When he was a kid, in the fall of the year he enjoyed the Zinnias that a Mr. Peterson used to plant along Highway 10. Everyday he admired them out of the school bus window until the frost killed them. He always thought it was fun and would be a fun thing to do someday. Thirty years ago was his someday, he has been planting them ever since. He said that it takes about five pounds of Zinnia seed every year, seed was 24 dollars a pound this year. He never collects and saves seed from one year to the next, because it is too difficult to collect and to separate from the weed seed. He told us, (Far Guy finally got out of the car), that everyone asks him in the spring of the year if he has them planted yet, and some ladies ask to use them as cut flowers for Weddings at the church. The worst part for him is the weeds, the Zinnias must be weeded or the weeds take over, he has no grand children to help him out as neither of his sons are married. I asked him if he knew that his Zinnias were featured in a poetry book by Mark Vinz? He had no idea, he said he thought that someone painted them once, and maybe the painting was in an Art Gallery in Fargo someplace. He was a very nice gentleman, I am glad I stopped to meet him. I also thanked him for growing Zinnias on Zinnia Corner.
The road construction has not been kind to the Zinnias this year.
It wasn't a wildly tragic or romantic story, but I did find it heartwarming that he shared about enjoying Zinnias as a young boy on a school bus. He also shared with us that he never has to give exact directions to his home, he lives just north of Zinnia Corner..and everyone knows where that is:)