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Flower of the Week

We’ve already written about our love of the humble, common daisy in Flower Of The Week, but this time round we thought we’d draw attention to one of it’s slightly cooler cousins, the zinnia (now picturing Zinnia in cool trainers and a backwards baseball cap going ‘aw mum!’ when made to hang out with her dorky little cousin Daisy in the oversized anorak and dungarees yet realising once the school bully shows up that they have an inescapable bond and she’ll protect Daisy no matter what - cue end credits).

So the zinnia is a daisy at heart, but what sets it apart - like a pair of cool trainers or backwards baseball cap - is the bold colours that typify its petals. Long in stem and rich in pigment, their flowers burst out of the dry, central American grassland that is their native home. Its Pokemon-style name was derived from the German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn, but a quick glance at the guy’s Wikipedia page suggests there is nothing remotely interesting about him so we won’t dwell on that…

…Instead, let’s focus on a claim to fame that arguably makes the zinnia the coolest FOTW to date (for a guy who as a kid obsessively thumbed the pages of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos anyway). In January 2016, NASA announced that a zinnia had flourished upon the International Space Station - making it, they claimed, the first flower ever grown outside of the Earth’s biosphere. From Shane Meadows-esque diaromas to the thought of a delicate daisy bobbing around in zero-gravity, a vibrant bloom amongst an infinite void: what a great little reminder of just how inspiring plant-life can be.

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