Photograph: Courtesy of Baker Creek

Die-hard gardeners live by their Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalogs, so the company’s lead horticulturist, Art Davidson, seemed like a good person to ask about spring fleurs.

“Zinnias are a no-fuss flower that can handle a light frost and heavy heat—perfect for the Midwest,” he says. If you're planning on planting some—or starting a kitchen garden—here are four tips from expert garden designer Sara Gasbarra of Chicago's Verdura.

Shown here, the “Lavender Queen” zinnia, $2 per seed packet, at