Sparrow and Finch Gardening The ideal companion plant to the kitchen garden

The ideal companion plant to the kitchen garden

Along with providing a bright color for months, marigolds can also deter insects and supply a plethora of fresh flowers. Hazel Sillver looks at the most suitable varieties to plant and the best ways to grow them.

With shades of gold, orange, red, and peach marigolds fill the garden with a sense of warmth and joy in the summer and through autumn. The flower’s name refers to two varieties of plants: Calendula and Tagetes. Both are incredibly easy to cultivate from seed and possess the amazing capacity to attract wildlife and, consequently, fight off pests in the vegetable garden.

There are 12 varieties of calendula, a majority of which are native to regions like the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The native fields marigold (Calendula arvensis) has tiny golden daisies However, this Spanish Pot Marigold (C. officinalis) is a large flowering plant that has daisies of orange is the most popular type that is grown in gardens, and has many hybrids available. Pot marigolds are great cut to use in vases and flower more frequently, and for longer, when regularly picked or cut back. They have large seeds, and delicious flowers Additionally, they are great plants to cultivate with kids. In the past, in Rome and Greece, the calendula plant was utilized for dyeing cosmetics, fabric, and even food. It was also used as a tisane or topically applied herb in ancient Egypt, and, in the present, it is used extensively to treat skin irritation.

Tagetes erecta swells in Mexico in advance of the Day of the Dead. DeadAlfredo Martinez/Getty Images

The genus tagetes encompasses 49 species that are native to Mexico as well as other regions of the Americas which includes the garden forms that we call African (Tagetes Erecta), French (T. patula) along with signet (T. tenuifolia) marigolds. The plants emit a savory smell, with a strong, pungent aroma, particularly when they are deadheaded (which guarantees that they flower for an extended period of time). Due to their advantages for wildlife, Modern gardening favors single-flowered T. tenuifolia, as well as single forms of T. patula. The marigolds that we used to grow for bedding in the ’70s and 80s were double versions of the commonly known African marigold. It is actually indigenous to Mexico and Mexico, where it is called cempasuchitl and is widely used for every year’s Day of the Dead in the early months of November because of its power to entice spirits of loved relatives. T. erecta can also be found throughout India for the purpose of being transformed into garlands to be used for all kinds of religious celebrations and offering, but particularly to mark Diwali (the Hindu festival of lights) in November which is when temples and homes shine with gold and orange candles and sweet marigolds to symbolize the triumph of illumination over darkness.

What marigolds can you grow?

The Pot marigold ( Calendula officinalis) kinds available comprises shades of orange gold and white. The most popular orange is ‘Indian Princess’ that has daisies with a dazzling tangerine blaze on 60 centimetre-long stems. The cultivars of apricot are also stunning, particularly ‘Sunset Buff’ (45cm) and ‘Touch of Red Buff’ (60cm), which both have peach and dusky-pink petals that have raspberry-red undersides as well as chocolate-colored centers. They are all accessible to pollinators, but certain of the more bushy, fully double varieties have little or access to pollen and nectar, making them less suitable for the garden. They are beautiful in a garden with claret flowers, like the scabious ‘Black Cat’ as well as honeywort ( Cerinthe major ‘Purpurescans’).

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