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Cheerful summer annuals

Now that spring has arrived, I look forward to warmer days with more sun and fewer days of torrential rain. Work in the flower garden can begin in earnest.

This spring, Jim and I will add some annuals to the borders. We rarely have used annuals in the past, other than pansies during the winter. Last summer, a friend gave us some zinnias of various colors that she didn’t have time to transplant. They flourished against the picket fence at the back of a daffodil border and provided us with vibrant color until the first hard frost. We hope they dropped plenty of seeds, but, if not, Jim has ordered several varieties, which we will plant in that border and several other spots.

Zinnias, which belong to the Aster family, are easy to grow and provide color throughout the summer. They are native to Mexico. The most popular species is Zinnia elegans. A huge number of varieties have been produced from Z. elegans, ranging from dwarf plants with tiny flowerheads on 6-inch stems to huge bloom...

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