Friday, August 29, 2008

Tagetes patula, a.k.a. French Marigold

I am a plant snob. I wouldn’t have planted plain-old non-native ho-hum marigolds if they hadn’t been free, and my garden weren’t in need of filler. But when we moved into the house last year, the seller had aparently tried to spruce up the yard by plunking in a flat of pathetic little marigolds, looking lonely and ineffective in the big dry beds.. I moved them all together for better effect, watered them, collected he seeds, planted those, and watered some more. I then collected a bucket full of second- and third-generation seeds in the fall. Most of those I gave away as Christmas presents to people who would apprecate them more than snobby me. But I still had several cups of seeds, so I planted them to fill up space. Most of them did poorly, and lost the fight against the raspberries and native flowers, but the recent rain spurred the survivors into new growth.

I have to admit, all this orange is causing me to revise my opinion on marigolds. That, and they really seem to make a good filler and living mulch. These offer little of use to the wildlife, but the fact that they lost the fight with the natives speaks volumes for their usefulness as transitional plants until the natives are fully filled-in.

I need to find a native plant with this much glorious orange!

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