Marigold, Marigold

I love marigolds! They’re so pretty with their full heads and fall colors, and they smell divine. My mother hates marigolds, but I plant them anyway. I was so delighted today when I checked on my seedlings to find this!

seed head!

My marigolds are sprouting, one of the first plants to do so. My mother used to plant marigolds when I was young, although I don’t know why as she claims to hate them. I remember sitting in the grass next to the flowerbed and talking to them. Marigolds have legends surrounding them and faeries, how they bring about visions and interactions with the wee ones. I claimed to see faeries all the time as a child, so I figure now that it must have been all the love I poured into my mother’s marigolds.

Since my marigolds are poking up their (currently) green heads to say hello, I decided to do a little research on them. I’ve only ever grown them as flowers before, but I wanted to focus my gardening this year on plants and herbs and vegetables that can be eaten or used for herbal medicines, so I did a little digging. And to my pleasant surprise, I found that calendula, an herb that is currently simmering in oil on my stovetop at this very moment, is a type of marigold! I’ve been itching to make calendula oil for a long time, because it’s properties are so gentle yet powerful. The very day I dig some out to brew into an oil is the very day my marigolds pop up from the seed bed. My friends, there are no coincidences in my life.

Marigold has two tribes and genuses – calendula and tagetes. Calendula Marigolds are, you guessed it, the herb calendula. Tagetes Marigolds are the more common variety, also called African Marigold, and the genus I’m growing in my garden this year. (Unless I can find calendula seeds!) While they are two different flowers (see pictures below), they have strikingly similar qualities. I plan to experiment with using both, and interchanging them, in salves and lotions to see if the effects are similar.

A new fact I learned while doing research: Marigolds are traditional decorations for Day of the Dead celebrations, which I find surprising and not all at the same time. The fact that Day of the Dead is a celebration at all makes it obvious that one would use the brightly colored marigolds to bring a smile. Marigolds also inspire passion and creativity, which must come from their vibrant, powerful colors!

I’ll be sure to post pictures of my marigolds as they grow, but as a present to the faeries that this flower is sure to invite into my garden and my life, I bought a cute little wire flower to stick into the corner of my garden bed dedicated to the wee ones this season. It’s out there now, in fact. That way, even though there is only dirt and rocks in my bed, they know they’re still welcome.

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