By Renee Adam
I hadn’t been down to my garden in four days and didn’t expect to see much when I went down this morning to check things over. This wonderful weather we have had this past week in Birmingham, Alabama, makes early mornings blissful! Down to the garden I went, distracted by the cool morning air that makes you want to stop and inhale, and then, to my delight, a surprise took center stage in the veggie and herb garden—marigolds bursting with color and bigger than life!
When summer temperatures scorched into the high 90’s and even 100 this summer, I thought my marigolds had thrown in the towel and given up. It’s just amazing the turn-around they’ve made and the way they enhance my summer garden that’s on the way out. My marigold plant stands about 30 inches tall and about 24 inches across and is full of blooms! (There is also a dwarf marigold plant that stays more compact for pots and small spaces.)
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, I guess I’ve always thought of marigolds as more or less…common. You can find them at most any nursery or Mom & Pop plant store. My mom always had marigolds in her gardens. I guess I never really thought they were anything special, but they are for several reasons, as I learned in an article about marigolds from Mother Earth News:
- The flowers are edible (yes…you can eat them!).
- If you pop the dead flower buds off (called dead-heading), they will continue to bloom.
- They are a natural way to discourage many insects (including beetles) from eating your crop.
- Underground, they control nematodes (tiny, eel-like worms that attack roots of plants).
- Did I mention the flowers are edible?!
So, my opinion of marigolds has changed. I’m rethinking the way I look at marigolds because I’ve taken them for granted. They’ve always been there, expected and under appreciated. I’m going to try and make up for it and give them a name they deserve, especially with all they offer and how little they expect in return. How’s “Marvelous Marigolds”? And, in their honor, I’m going to look around and see if there are any other treasures in my garden I’ve been taking for granted.