GUIZERIX: I stopped to smell the flowers, and you should, too

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2022

I made a last-minute decision on Friday to check out the zinnia garden on Cherry Street — and it was a sight to behold.

With blooms springing up left and right in an array of warm hues, I found it to be a perfect reprieve from an otherwise-busy day of gathering stories and publishing the weekend newspaper. Petals in every shade of orange, bubblegum pink, fuschia and buttery yellow greeted me, their stems jutting out in all directions in an amalgam of greenery.

The garden is a passion project of Joyce Ferris and Peggy Gouras, and what a project it is.

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Because zinnias are annuals (meaning they’re perfect for cutting as the original plants don’t return once they bloom), they beckon passersby to pick a couple of stems to bring home. I know I did, and others in town have taken advantage of its beauty as well.

Perhaps what amazes me most is how Ferris and Gouras took an otherwise useless lot in a lesser-visited part of town and turned it into something beautiful they could share with others.

Given the beauty and relative ease that comes with the maintenance of zinnias, it’s my hope that others will be inspired by Ferris and Gouras and plant their own cutting gardens in their neighborhoods. I know I’d like to plant some in the greenway in front of my home next year.

Not to mention, the bright blooms are ideal for attracting butterflies and honeybees — meaning they contribute to the overall wellbeing of our ecosystem. Vegetable farmers often plant them near their gardens, as they have shown to help yield more crops.

There are so many reasons to stop and smell the flowers. And zinnias form a bouquet that keeps on giving as well; when properly cut and in a vase, they will last anywhere from days to weeks.

So, if you’re looking for a summer activity for your grandchildren, or simply need to spruce up your space with free fresh flowers, stop by the zinnia patch across from the Warren County Jail. It’s highly worth your time.