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Stop to Smell the Zinnias


          For a brief time in the 90’s, I owned my “dream home.”  It was this spacious, two-story, four bedroom, two and a half bath beauty. It had two living areas, but I turned one into a “formal” dining room.  This gorgeous expanse of HOUSE met you as you walked in through the front door.
          The backyard was tiny compared to the half-acre we owned before so we built a deck that encompassed the whole back of the house.  I made it more welcoming by adding container plants, and we spent morning and evenings outside.
Landscaped by the builder, the front yard had the usual sapling and the all-purpose shrubs most new subdivisions provide. I wanted to distinguish it from all the other front yards on our street, so I went out and bought fifteen envelopes of zinnias. I planted them all in that front flowerbed. By June, the shrubs were hidden among the zinnias.  They had taken over and created a beautiful display of color.
          The flower bed was situated underneath this majestic, cathedral window, and whenever I was home I opened the shades to let in the view. I was surprised one Saturday morning to find people looking in my house while I was looking out. Parents positioned their babies in among my flowerbed and took picture after picture.  Photographers took close ups of my flowers. There were people on my grass and in my flowerbed at all hours of the day and late into the evening, so I made a polite sign for the trespassers and posted it in front of my flowerbed. 
YOU ARE WELCOME TO ENJOY THE FLOWERS, BUT PLEASE DO NOT TRAMPLE MY GRASS OR THE FLOWERBED.
          I sold that house after four years. The new owners were a couple who stopped one day to enjoy the flowers and fell in love with the house.  I have driven by twice, and the sapling is a tree now and the shrubs have been replaced, but the memory remains. I think of my zinnia experiment every spring when I plant flowers in my yard.


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