PRECIOUS PETALS: Cherry Street zinnia garden expands for second year in Vicksburg

Published 5:29 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2023

The Cherry Street zinnia garden is in full bloom for the second year — and is bigger and better, thanks to a few good neighbors.

Facilitated by Eugene and Joyce Ferris, Jimmy and Peggy Gouras and Mike Gatti, the garden began as a small plot last year across from the Warren County Jail, near the intersection of Cherry and Grove streets. This year, the flower patch has expanded its footprint to the end of the block at China Street.

The land, owned by the Gourases, provides ample space by the sidewalk for passersby to stop, enjoy the vibrant blooms, and pick a bouquet or two.

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“I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out this year,” Joyce said. “It’s really sweet, driving by there and seeing people (picking flowers). It’s been a blessing to us.”

Zinnias are colorful flowers known as annuals, which means that during their growing season, they will produce flowers and seeds but the original plant will not return. They produce colorful flowers with erect stems that are good for cutting and can attract butterflies.

In addition to expanding the garden, Joyce said she incorporated some new varieties of zinnias in the mix this year.

“It’s a really steep learning curve,” she said. “We expanded this year and (Gatti) and I added an irrigation system, so water can reach the far corner.”

Joyce added that the organizers’ goal of the garden was to bring joy to others in the community and give back to Vicksburg a little of what the city had given to them. Speaking of giving, zinnias are flowers that keep on giving long after they’ve wilted.

While they don’t grow back each year, zinnia lovers can save the seeds of their favorite flowers and plant them the next summer. When the flower heads begin to droop, remove the stems and place the heads in a paper bag. Store them in a cool, dry place, and by next summer, there will be plenty of seeds to plant in a personal garden.