Just over a week ago, I planted some French marigold seeds. This is a very bad idea. I’ve attempted to grow French marigolds only two or three times in the (nearly) seventeen years that we’ve been living here in Somerset and each time they have been totally decimated. The snails (some of whom have featured in earlier posts) love them! Nonetheless, inside of the snails or outside of the snails, this year I have decided we will have French marigolds.
Here they are:
My father was a gardener. He grew a wide variety of fruit and vegetables that visitors to our house were often invited to taste. He also had certain favourite flowers that he liked to grow. Among my earliest memories of him is one of our planting out French marigolds together in the front garden of the house where I was born, probably when I was about five or six. But the evidence suggests that my involvement in his hobby began even earlier than this:
Later, when we had moved to Oxfordshire, I was given a flower bed of my own. Dad dug it over for me in the autumn and the following summer it was a mass of yellows, oranges and reds. The French and African marigolds that I grew did exceptionally well – due at least in part to the fact that the flower bed was south facing and enjoyed lots of warm sunshine. No slugs or snails troubled the plants. Instead, they became a favourite hunting ground for the tame jackdaw that appeared in our garden. He loved to pick the earwigs out of the flowers!
My Dad liked French marigolds. He liked the African ones too. And Dahlias. He liked their brightly coloured pom poms – which was really quite odd considering that he always said his favourite colour was blue. Not many marigolds are blue!
But that’s why I have planted French marigolds this year. Because Dad. He died just over two weeks ago – on 20th February.