Marigolds are Summer’s gold from start to finish for this gardener. From seed to ground to vase, marigolds provide golden nuggets of beauty to the garden all season long. They are one of the easiest additions to the garden. Growing marigolds guarantees a season-long, easy to maintain display of color for the garden border. There are benefits that complement the beauty of this simple flower. As children, my siblings and I helped my Mom plant a border of marigolds right outside the kitchen. The size of the seed makes it easy to plant by little hands. Marigolds bring smiles to gardeners of all ages. Many elderly plant lovers remember it as being a plant from the past.
LET’S TALK ABOUT MARIGOLDS
The most common type of marigold is known as Calendula or Pot Marigold. This is a Latin word meaning clock. Pot marigolds are used in tinctures and edible products. The unexpected color of a Calendula bloom is a welcome surprise in a fresh salad. The sweetness of the leaves is also a welcome gift.
The other marigold commonly found would be the Tagetes type. Tagetes marigolds are named after a religious prophet. This marigold was used in religious ceremonies, as well as offerings to the Virgin Mary. The usually larger blooms are not edible. In some cases, Tagetes can be a skin irritant.
Here are a few fun facts:
Marigolds represent a desire for joy and wealth. This everblooming annual promotes good cheer as well as representing the beauty and warmth of the rising sun.
Did you know the marigold is one of the most popular annuals in America today?
W. Atlee Burpee founded the Burpee Seed Company. Financial struggles almost ended this resource for gardeners around the world. David Burpee took over the company and embraced marigolds. Recognizing the history and popularity of this hardy, well-traveled plant, David seized the opportunity to hybridize marigolds. In a way, marigolds (and David) resurrected the Burpee Company.
LET’S GROW THIS PLANT
Did I mention how easy marigolds are to grow? You seriously cannot go wrong with seeds. Easy to handle, quick to sprout and a terrific idea for crafting seasonal gifts.
Loosen the existing soil to a depth of 4 – 6 inches. lant each seed between 8 12 inches apart. Smaller blooming varieties or marigolds should be planted close together. Larger blooming varieties like such as the Tagetes are planted further apart. Check the back of the seed packets for optimum planting instructions.
Add a layer of organic material to suppress weeds and to provide a moist environment. Water when the temps are high and if there is a drought. Only use a very diluted fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer for this annual. (If you pay attention to the health of the soil, you will inevitably have healthier plants.) Planting marigolds in rich soil is not a good idea. Fertilizing marigolds will create an abundance of foliage and minimal bloom.
In most gardens neatness counts. To encourage more blooms, deadhead the finished blooms. What is deadheading? Pinching the finished bloom back to the closest set of two leaves and voila – you just became a Deadhead expert. While not really required, the finished blooms can become unsightly, however, it is all a part of the normal garden cycle. Think of it this way, removing and drying the finished blooms can make a great gift from the garden. Consider gifting them for friends or to the local school for next year’s garden program or to community centers for summer programs.
Notice a bit of speckling on the leaves? Most likely those are mites. One of the few insects that just love marigolds. A quick shot of water or a spray of insecticidal soap will remedy this quickly.
Fungus or moldy leaves showing up? Try to remember to water at the right time of the day – early morning or early evening, allowing the foliage to dry quickly. Excessive sitting water on the leaves or overhead watering of most plants is just a bad idea. Practice proper garden watering. Marigolds can tolerate a ridiculous level of dryness.
Marigolds are great friends with benefits in the garden. French marigolds can repel nematodes. Nematodes feed off of the roots of garden vegetables like tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers and more. Planting marigolds is like having a colorful army protecting the beauty of the garden.
A vase of marigolds will last about a week indoors. What an inexpensive way to have a cluster of cheery yellow, red, or orange at your fingertips. If you really want to remember the blooms of a marigold planting, strip the leaves and hang them upside down for drying. Adding the dried blooms to seasonal wreaths or potpourri are perfect for curing winter blues.
TRUE STORY OF AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE
Last month I used marigolds for a few office arrangements. I brought them home at week’s end so I could savor the beauty of local flowers on my table. I hate to see anything not repurposed if there is an opportunity for repurposing.
When it was time to discard this arrangement, my thoughts were on deadheading the withering blooms, dry the seedheads, and save them for my garden next year. That is when I noticed a surprise in the vase.
I had never used marigolds as a cut flower before this year. They have always been so inexpensive, I would just grow them in the garden and enjoy them outside. I had no idea they had the ability to root! I am going to pot up the rooted cuttings and see if they will produce a few late-season blooms in my garden. Saving pennies in the garden is always a good thing. I am considering the original bouquet garden gold, as I will have seeds for many seasons to come!
Do you grow marigolds in your garden? There are so many to choose from. Take time to explore some of the great selections of cultivars from reputable seed companies like Burpee. Won’t you try some in your garden?
Heading to the garden to plant my garden gold!
Teri, Cottage In The Court
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