So this year, after many seasons of non-gardening, I decided to buy some flower seeds and add a little summer color. After much deliberation, I settled on marigolds.
Why? I’ve never particularly liked marigolds. I like zinnias and nasturtiums and daisies. Zinnias were too tall for the area I was planting. I’ve done nasturtiums over and over. Daisies were not to be found on this particular seed rack. So I plucked a packet of marigold seeds off the display and thought how sunny and lovely the orange and yellow hues would be for myself and the neighbors to enjoy during the height of summer.
First, I planted them late. I had no choice. The spring was much as it was last year – slow to arrive, filled with cool days wrapped in mist and fog and nights where temperatures suddenly dipped down to the 30’s well into May.
Eventually it seemed that the threat of frost was well past and I scattered the long, thin black seeds into the soil and watered the area gently. As the days and weeks passed, tiny shoots of green began to poke their little leaves up through the dirt. As they matured, I had to do the dastardly deed of “thinning” the plants. This is a terrible job requiring the removal of some of the seedlings in order for the remainder to thrive. I can rip a weed out with gusto and have been known to dig out offending grass if it crept into an area where it was not welcome. But wee tiny flower shoots just wanting to grow tall and be beautiful? It seems counterproductive.
The thinning complete, I waited for the marigold plants to mature and begin producing flowers. They grew and grew and… for the love of Pete, they got almost as tall as zinnias! No flowers were arriving and at this point, I was like, wow, it pretty much looks like I’m growing pot.
A few weeks ago, the first marigold blooms unfurled their little petals and became the round button glories that they were meant to be. Orange and yellow and rust perched upon the frothy green plants, hugging around the corner looking for sunlight. My masterpiece of summer. My garden of flowers and happiness, achieved through that most important skill of all, the ability to harness patience in order to see the fruits of one’s labor.
As I gazed upon these marigolds, these flowers of summer, two thoughts came to my mind almost simultaneously… all of this only to have the calendar flip to September tomorrow which means the season is winding down. The new frost will be on it’s way to clear these plants for winter. So short a time, this thing called summer. And the other thought…
I don’t even like orange and yellow all that much. Next year – Daisies!