A History of Zinnias
Flower for the Ages
A History of Zinnias brings forward the fascinating adventure of zinnias and the spirit of civilization. With colorful illustrations, this book is a cultural and horticultural history documenting the development of garden zinnias—one of the top ten garden annuals grown in the United States today.
The deep and exciting history of garden zinnias pieces together a tale involving Aztecs, Spanish conquistadors, people of faith, people of medicine, explorers, scientists, writers, botanists, painters, and gardeners. The trail leads from the halls of Moctezuma to a cliff-diving prime minister; from Handel, Mozart, and Rossini to Gilbert and Sullivan; from a little-known confession by Benjamin Franklin to a controversy raised by Charles Darwin; from Emily Dickinson, who writes of death and zinnias, to a twenty-year-old woman who writes of reanimated corpses; and from a scissor-wielding septuagenarian who painted with bits of paper to the “Black Grandma Moses” who painted zinnias and inspired the opera Zinnias.
Zinnias are far more than just a flower: They represent the constant exploration of humankind’s quest for beauty and innovation.