Hi Cinda and Greg,
I am glad you guys liked the photo. I have been breeding zinnias, strictly for fun as an amateur, for the last several years. As I have mentioned elsewhere, botanically any part of a plant that can produce a seed is defined to be a flower. Therefore, each zinnia petal
is botanically a flower, even though regular zinnia petals don't look much like a flower.
So, one of my "for fun" goals is to make individual zinnia petals look more like flowers. A few years ago I found a zinnia mutation with tubes for petals, instead of the usual "flat" appendages. So I crossed it extensively with other zinnia that I had, and then used the technique of genetic recombination to get variations on that tubular theme.
Of course, there are disadvantages to having zinnia petals be tubes. For one thing, the colored surface in on the inside of the tube, which can give the zinnia bloom a rather "dumb" look, like this early form. (As usual at ATP, you can see a larger version by clicking on the picture.)
So I began working toward improving the tubular petals, to add a little flare and "interest" to the petal ends.
And then I worked to give the tubes some curve, and improve the flare-out at the tube ends.
Those were early steps. I am continuing on my quest to transform zinnia petals into petal flowers instead of flower petals.