Marigolds, or tagetes (which are known as Mexican or African marigolds and should not be confused with calendulas), are flowers that are loved for their heartiness as well as their ability to protect the garden from pests. These herbaceous plants are members of the daisy family. Native to Mexico and South America, marigolds have been used in Day of the Dead celebrations and have been associated with the Virgin Mary – the name “marigold” derives from “Mary’s Gold.”
Because these plants are repellant to insects and some animals, marigolds make great border flowers. Their bright green foliage contrasts beautifully with their red, orange, and yellow frilled flowers. Marigolds love full sun and aren’t particular about what soil they’re planted in. They can be purchased in dozens as they are inexpensive flowers, but the more marigolds, the merrier – marigolds will provide color the whole summer through.
Because marigolds are so easy to grow, they are ideal “first flowers” for children to tend to. A child’s flower garden full of marigolds will flourish, and marigolds’ bright, pungent flowers can be plucked at will – for tiny bouquets, for wishes, or to be tucked behind the ear of a garden princess.