Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm a Dead Head-er

I decided to do some front-yard cleanup yesterday. My formerly luscious marigolds had become crispy, brown, and sad thanks to a frost on Saturday morning. We woke up to 27 degree temps and I glanced at my yellow beauties....knowing what was in store for them. A tiny part of me breathed a sigh of relief that my dead-heading days were numbered.

My mother, while staying with us in May, carefully planted the whole batch of flowers I'd purchased. She reminded me many times that I would need to dead-head them to keep the flowers strong and healthy. She even showed the boys how to do it, so they could be helpful.

That didn't last long.

* * * * * * * *


After several years of frustrating (and costly) experiments, I finally got smart and became a die-hard fan of marigolds.

See, my trips to the nursery usually go something like this:

"OOOO! That's PURTY! I'm gunna GIT me somma THOSE!"

(Apparently, when talking to myself, I turn into a big hillbilly.)

So I fill my cart with whatever catches my untrained eye. Then I take it home, plant it, and cross my fingers.

Every single year, though, I find myself drawn to the marigolds.

(Perhaps a strong connection to my past? My mother and grandmother both had them. When I close my eyes and breathe in that pungent, distinctive aroma, I'm right back on the farm.)

And every single year, those are the ones that thrive the best under my questionably green thumb. Everything else seems too fragile or not drought-resistant enough.

I need plants that aren't going to get all whiny and wilted when I forget to water them every 5 minutes.

(Which is why I will never ever ever ever have a plant in a hanging basket. Really? You need to be watered several times a day? Bwahahaa! That's a good one! Take a hike.)

(I'm also apparently very snotty when I talk to myself.)

* * * * * * * *

So these beloved teeny little marigolds that I purchased in May? You know...the ones that are about 2 inches tall in the nursery? Well, put them in the ground, add an entire month of rain (!!!June!!!) and some diligent dead-heading, and you'll get this:


I had Nicholas hold a tape measure against the tallest of them....they measured 24 inches from dirt to flower and had stems that looked like little tree trunks.

What I'm holding in this picture is one plant. One itty-bitty 2-inch-tall flower from the garden store turned into this massive marigold shrub.

We were The House With The Yellow Flowers this summer.

I can't wait to get started again in May!


  1. Funny - I inherited some marigolds this year. The first flowers I'd planted since experimenting with rose bushes straight out of the gate 5 years ago (not a wise choice, btw). Those flowers overran the entire flower bed, dwarfing the mums, impatiens, and ornamental grass that were trying to cohabitate there. Apparently, marigolds are some hearty dang flowers for those of us with a yellowish-brown thumb.

  2. Hardy doesn't even begin to describe the marigold. I would highly recommend them to anyone who's not exactly a Gardening Whiz.


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