Monday, September 21, 2009

Curiosity: Zinnia Corner: The Rest of the Story

A few weeks ago I did a blog about Zinnia Corner. Last Saturday I found out the rest of the story, I took the time to ask the question "Why do you plant those Zinnias on the corner?"

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:)

17 comments:

  1. You know that you just had a birthday, and I have found the older I get the bolder I get. I am so glad you asked that man about those zinnia's. I glad he was there at the right place and the right time. Can you imagine what he could do to harvest and sell this tradition all around the state? I think I would be giving out seeds every fall at the corner of the road. Thanks for asking.

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  2. Oh how awesome! It wasn't all that hard getting out of the vehicle to go ask either. Gotta do that to find things out! It think it's so cool that he as a small boy enjoyed the flowers and now all these years has planted for others! See ya soon.

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  3. Isn't that a wonderful story! That he wanted to spread the joy of seeing the zinnias that he had enjoyed as a boy...

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  4. Okay, so I have been trying to curb my use of "I love..." statements. But I must say that inspite of the fact or maybe because it isn't a tragic love story and instead is a story about a young boy loving flowers and growing up to provide people with the possiblility of the same, I love that!

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  5. I find that story very charming indeed. Amazing that a young fellow would even notice flowers and then to continue to share the joy all these years later. So glad you stopped and talked with him.

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  6. I am glad you found the answer to the mystery. Very touching. He will be remembered long after he is gone as the zinnia man. That is a nice legacy to have. He has taken the time to add beauty to the world. Many people never bother.
    Nice story Connie.

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  7. What a wonderful story. I'm so glad you found out!

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  8. This story illustrates that we never know how much our actions touch or influence others. Thank you for solving the mystery of Zinnia Corner.

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  9. Well, well. I posted pictures of zinnias on my blog today. They are such an amazing flower, coming in fat and flat styles. And I have to agree with Rae: he will always be known as the zinnia man, and that is a fine legacy. Thanks for sharing the story...

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  10. Love, love, love this story. Thank you, as always, for sharing such a charming tale.

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  11. Well that's just neat! Thirty years he's been planting the things? Based on a childhood pleasure. We could all do much much worse!

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  12. my elderly neighbor plants them, too. BUT, he drys his own seed.

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  13. I am so glad that stopped and asked. It's a great story and I'm very glad to have 'heard' it!

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  14. Reminds me of the story Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. Miss Rumphius became known as the Lupine Lady. Thanks for sharing, C.

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  15. Thanks for solving the mystery.

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  16. That was a lovely story. Thanks for stopping by and finding out!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

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  17. I am so glad you went and asked him in person about it. Now, you should contact your local newspaper to do an article about his good deed...I bet others in your area would find it fascinating, too.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie