The Magic of Marigolds

Marigold, both the double African and the double French. These flowers always give me a pricking of the conscience, for during the summer, when there are plenty of others, I give them the “go by,” but in October turn to them with shame and thankfulness.”

Helena Rutherfurd Ely, ‘A Woman’s Hardy Garden’ (1903)

A stroll through my September garden does not delight the senses in the same way as the garden in July. While most plants have quite given up the thought of pushing out more flowers, there are a few which are just now coming into their glory. Perhaps they’ve been blooming for quite awhile, but are just now being noticed and appreciated because their showy garden partners have now exited the stage.

I’ve never thought much of marigolds. They need to be deadheaded quite often, which I don’t enjoy because it makes my fingers smell marigold-y for quite some time. It’s a spicy fragrance, but not one that I enjoy much. But there is something quite beautiful about the flower.

When I choose annuals in the spring, I rarely tuck marigolds into the flat. If I’m going to purchase annuals to nestle in amongst my perennial favorites, I’m going to opt for petunias, zinnias or snapdragons. But this year, a few marigolds managed to find their way into my shopping cart.

The bunnies thought they were delicious.

I managed to put a little wire fence around the one plant that remained, thereby rescuing it from becoming bunny fodder.

And I’m so glad it survived. It you come visit me, you’ll find this signet marigold thriving in a flowerbed right next to my front porch.

In looking around at my September garden, I have decided I need to plant a few more marigolds next year so that I will have another month or two of color to enjoy. I decided to try harvesting seeds from my lone marigold plant. I pulled off about a dozen dried flowers and went to town.

It’s really easy to harvest marigold seeds; here’s a little video that demonstrates how to do it.

Do you think this will be enough seeds?

Author: barefootlilylady

I love sharing about my barefoot gardening adventures, hence my blogger name. As I write, some of my other passions might spill out -- like fun with grandkids, baking and sewing endeavors, what I'm studying in Scripture, and the like. My readers will notice that one of the primary things I write about is Alzheimer's. May what I write be an encouragement to anyone who is a caregiver for someone they love with memory loss.

7 thoughts on “The Magic of Marigolds”

  1. I have the same feelings for marigold. Oh the smell!! Theres another common variety here that looks like a rather large yellow ball.
    I am not fond of either, though they do provide colour.
    The seeds are MORE than enough! 😋

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  2. That’s a pretty one! I harvest seeds as well, and am sometimes surprised by the flower colors, shapes, and sizes when they begin blooming the next spring. About this time is when I feel guilty, knowing that those poor marigolds have been producing flowers since May, and have not received a single side dressing of fertilizer, or a bit of liquid seaweed for all their efforts. Interesting that your bunnies like marigolds. Mine pass them by untouched in favor of zinnias, asters, and gomphrena (especially the most expensive seed…they seem to know by instinct!)

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    1. I’m terrible at remembering to side dress!
      I purposely planted marigolds because I didn’t think the burgeoning population of rabbits would find them a delicacy. I think the little bunnies seem most interested in the marigold plants when they are young. I’ve been planting bulbs lately and am quite sure the bunnies are gathering with the squirrels to watch and see where I’m burying them. I think they have a pact. Squirrels get to dig up as many bulbs as they can find. Eating them is optional, but they are required to take at least two bites. The bunnies get to nibble down all the new spring growth on any bulbs the squirrels missed.

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  3. When I was a young wife & mother (so long ago), we lived in a new condo for 2 years and only had a tiny strip of grass on our patio. The rest was concrete. I planted marigolds and as they died I pulled the blossoms off and pushed them back into the ground. I was so happy when a few of them actually grew new plants that year. I didn’t know beans about gardening then and wasn’t aware the dead blossoms could be next year’s seeds…duh!

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    1. It’s always fun when seeds from last year’s annuals somehow germinate, bringing randomly placed splashes of surprise color. I have a few petunias this year that seem to be seedlings from last year’s petunias. I remember when I was a newlywed, I threw a rotten potato out in the snow covering our “tiny strip of grass” outside of our apartment. The next summer I had a potato vine and harvested 5 tiny potatoes.

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  4. Potatoes…in the ground…I feel a father-in-law memory emerging. At his fishing cabin (a used trailer) in the mountain woods by a creek, he showed me his little garden strip. He pulled up a potato for me to examine. Silly city girl me said, “Oh my! I never knew French fries grew in the ground.” I can still remember his laughter and red face.

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