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.