My hunt every spring is to find flats of marigolds that don't break the bank. I’d rather not buy them in a one quart pot or anything larger, but in a four-pack of various colors like orange, yellow and a combination of yellow and orange (looks red sometimes). For the past week I couldn’t get my beloved marigold flowers out of my head. Thankfully, I was lucky to work in my flower beds on Mother’s Day, with help, but that did not include going to a store or nursery to buy them.
Today when I went out to return some extra split rail fencing I purchased a week ago that we did not need, I checked the garden department for marigolds. I was on the hunt, and this big box store had nary a marigold in sight. About a half mile away though, another big box discount store that has a garden center just had to be my next stop in my quest for what I’m thinking is an illusive flower.
I was tickled to see that this next stop store had overflowing racks of flowers along the brick front near the garden center entrance. I was thinking there had to be marigolds somewhere here. I pulled out a nicely wheeled cart from the cart corral, and perused all the flowers along the front of the store very carefully. Still, no marigolds. Now I am getting suspicious with no marigolds in sight. Are they always that popular every spring? It’s early-ish May, I know, so am I late in purchasing them? Maybe all the presidents of the local garden clubs put out a memo that they are wonderful, colorful and very hearty flowers to grow. But sheesh, nada so far.
Maybe the word is out too that there is no annual flower more cheerful or easier to grow. Maybe people know that they can bloom from April to November in the Mid-Atlantic in gold, copper and brass color-ways and they don’t really have to be watered. Can the attraction be that they thrive in full sunshine and can withstand very hot summers? Maybe they are all out because they grow pretty much in any soil and have very few pest problems. In fact, they are companion plants in gardens and farms all over the world. Honeybees love them too! Hey, they even repel snakes, whiteflies, Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, tomato hornworms, and, the biggest nemesis of all: mosquitoes! Marigolds are a definite crowd pleaser I’ve come to reason.
After my mental rant, I entered the outdoor garden area of the store. There just had to be some marigolds here, I was convinced of it. Once I entered the sacred area, I was met by a friendly staff member. I wanted to find them on my own, but after looking down several rows of flowers, I came up short. The friendly staff member was happy to assist me when questioned about my flower choice and where were they hiding them. He laughed and said,” you are bit late for them.” What? I didn’t know I could be late for the marigolds? I guess one learns something new every day—this was my day to learn when to plan to buy marigolds in the future. He then pointed out the only rack I did not look over. Sure enough, there were my marigolds - low on the rack. There were not many flats of four-packs left, but I am proud to say I was able to purchase (8) packs! I was thrilled to do so, and since I was so elated, I decided to buy a few begonias and spikes for my pots too.
If I learned anything today, it’s to get your annual marigolds early in the season! I’ve tried growing them from seeds from the previous year (keep them dry and in a glass ball jar), but they never germinate for me.
So how about those geraniums?