Orrick’s sea of zinnias welcomes in the season

Cindy Orrick and her grandchildren, Jackson and Katelyn Ellard, take a break with their fresh-cut bouquet of zinnias.
Staff Writer

A frequent passer-by labeled her the “zinnia lady.”

Her friends know her as Cindy Orrick. And on the first official day of summer, she was doing what she will be doing often in the next few months, cutting of bouquets of the beautiful summer flower and providing smiles to just about anyone who travels East Church Hill Road between the old Bryan Foods and West Point High School.

Her magical little circle of beauty can’t be missed.

“I go out of my way sometimes just to make sure I drive by. No matter what kind of day I’m having, it makes me smile,” described Tom Franklin, who drives by “four or five times” a week.

“It’s just so bright and cheery. I want to leave her a note and say ‘thank you,’” added Edna Davidson, another frequent passer by.

Orrick lives in the wooded area just south of the patch of zinnias. She usually has day lilies growing in the circle surrounded by shrubs, but the day lilies haven’t been doing well — she thinks the deer might have something to do with it — so she dug up the bulbs last year and let them rest. She replanted them this year but knew they wouldn’t do much the first year.

Not wanting to let the spot along the driveway sit desolate, she planted zinnias, one of the world’s simplest flowers.

Gardeners just spread them, throw on a little dirt and watch them grow.

She picked a variety pack from the Wild Seed Farm in Texas and hasn’t been disappointed.

“They produce so many varieties and colors. I texted three of my friends and told them to drive by and tell me what they thought,” she said.

Zinnias come in a surprising number of varieties and a multitude of colors. The more they are cut, the more they bloom, making fabulous bouquets as presents or as a welcome sight every morning and night.

Best of all, they bloom well into the fall.

Next year, because the day lilies bloom in June, Orrick plans to plant the zinnias later and let them reach full bloom once the day lilies are finished.

“I’m going to see how that works,” she said.

Friday, her grandchildren — Katelyn and Jackson Ellard — were with her. Jackson is the designated chauffeur on her Gator, which comes equipped with a tank and hose for everything from insecticide and herbicide to water.
Katelyn helps pick the flowers for the perfect fistful.

“I’ve started cutting them now. I really enjoy being among them,” Orrick said, reminding the younger ones that Friday was the first day of summer.