Behind the Scenes: Zinnias

This week I caught up with Maggie Zwilling, with her beautiful zinnias, artistic aesthetic, and laissez faire attitude. She’s a badass. “I’m not a tidy gardener,” Maggie told me, “nor do I care if colors don’t match.” See what I mean?

Maggie is a big chronicler of butterfly and moth activity, and plans her garden with them in mind. Check out some of this summer’s swallowtail visitors from her garden:

Zinnias are easy annuals to plant and care for. They add vibrant pops of color throughout your garden, whether they’re the centerpiece or sprinkled in. Plan ahead to make sure you have enough for a cutting garden, so that even when you’ve got a bouquet of zinnias indoors, there’s still some gracing the garden.

For more information on zinnias, check out:

Rain lilies

In May, my friend Maggie brought me a bunch of gladiolus and rain lilies. The gladiolus have since bloomed and faded, but the first little rain lily has finally shown her face. And, oh, how pretty she is! FYI, just ignore the bare ground … Mr. Sickles and I are in desperate need of mulch, but at this point we’re waiting for the fall.

Pink rain lilies (Zephyranthes carinata) are perennials native to Mexico, Colombia and Central America. They’re vibrant and delicate, and a shocking pop of color in an otherwise green portion of my garden. One great element of this little beauty is that we won’t have to dig her up to winter indoors, thank you baby Jesus. And with rain on the horizon, the rest of the bulbs are likely to bloom this week, too. Hurricane Isaias is forecast to head this way in some capacity, so batten down the hatches and stay safe, y’all.

Twenty-Six Years of Optimism

We’re celebrating our 26th anniversary today. I always have such fond memories of our wedding, and the life I’ve built with my husband and son … but inevitably my mind drifts back to the flowers in my wedding bouquet. For years, Mr. Sickles gave me stargazer lily bulbs to plant in the garden. As a result, we had dozens of cut lilies to bring in on June 4. But when we moved four years ago, I didn’t bring any lilies with me — other than the fondant lily that was on a cake we had celebrating our 20th anniversary. That cake was the stuff of legends, the decorations included, and came from Once In A Blue Moon Bakery in Cary. I think it’s time to add some stargazers to this garden, since we have the perfect meadow for stargazing and, well, stargazers.