Marigolds are one of those flowers. It seems that they’ll grow just about anywhere. And as long as they get a little sun and an occasional watering, they always seem to be quite happy that they exist.
We’ve been planting various types of marigolds in our garden for a few years now. They are good companion plants to have, not only because they are pretty, but also because they bring in lots of pollinators and tend to keep away pests. (Unless those pests are chickens. Oh, if only we could have chickens!) Some years our marigolds took off like wildfire; other years were more slim. This year is something like a wildfire year. Though some of the marigolds got far too large for their own good — all they do now is keel over in a pile of green – others are beautiful involving the fall colors of maroon and gold.
We planted several different varieties, but only two of them really took off. First are the Nema-Gone marigolds.
This variety came from Burpee, and it caught our attention because it’s supposed to help quell nematodes – something like roundworms – in soil. Though we don’t think we have this particular problem, we were curious to see how the plants did next to lettuces and green, many of which like to get attacked by various bugs. Seeing as how the rabbits got into the lettuces before we could see the results, it didn’t really matter in the end. But we ended up with large, lovely plants with small orange-yellow flowers…which we really should have thinned, as it turned out. In both beds where we put the Nema-Gones, they absolutely took over. Not in terms of spreading, but the foliage grew at an overwhelming rate, overshadowing anything under it. We had something similar happen with a variety called Harlequin that we planted a couple years ago, but those plants were not nearly as voluminous with green.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Petite Mix marigolds. More along the lines of what one might think of when hearing “marigold,” these bushy little plants with an abundance of red/gold flowers have really brightened up our garden! We scattered these seeds just about everyone, but they really came up in the raised beds and along the border of the bush beans. We know that their blooms with last for quite some time still. Even when the nighttime temps dip rather low for this time of year (fall came early, at least for the moment), there still seem perfectly happy. We had one of these plants die early, and we’re not sure why, because it seems take an awful lot of work to make one meet its demise. But the rest of the plants are quite content. And how much to we enjoy looking out and seeing fall in our backyard. (Quite a lot, thank you!)
Speaking of flowers, our success with some of our new varieties – snapdragons and strawflowers, in particular – has already prompted some debate about next year’s gardening layout. Here’s hoping that our talk will pan out into action, as we hope to expand our flower-y horizons even more next year and in the years to come. 🙂