Photo: Katy Warner (flickr)
When I first started my flower garden I thought that marigolds were such ordinary flowers that I would never plant them. As the years went by, however, it began to dawn on me why so many other people planted marigolds: they are easy to grow!
While it is good to grow exotic types of flowers, it is a lot more work. As I gained more respect for good old marigolds, I began planting just the yellow ones. I learned to use them around vegetables to repel insects and to provide color in hot dry summer weather that defeated less vigorous plants. I started to really enjoy their contributions to bouquets of cut flowers and got used to religiously stripping the lower leaves of the stems to avoid the smell of their decaying leaves in the water of a vase.
I found that my yellow marigolds looked terrific in combination with purple globe amaranth and blue salvia, for example. They also add zip to a bouquet of white daisies or colorful zinnias.
Soon I was growing a lot more marigolds and valuing them because they were NOT valued by the deer. At this point I even began to grow orange marigolds, a color I had never before wanted. And so it goes…flowers, like some people we encounter, take time to reveal their virtues that initially may be hidden from us. Like chrysanthemums, marigolds are such serviceable flowers, and as one becomes a seasoned gardener “serviceable” becomes a most welcome descriptor.