Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Touch of Marigold Magic; YOUR GARDEN with Diarmuid Gavin Easy to Grow, and Not Just a Pretty Face - as Pesky Aphids Will Discover

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Touch of Marigold Magic; YOUR GARDEN with Diarmuid Gavin Easy to Grow, and Not Just a Pretty Face - as Pesky Aphids Will Discover

Article excerpt

Byline: With Diarmuid Gavin

THIS is the year of the marigold, according to Fleuroselect, the international organisation for ornamental plants, and why not? It's a plant that deserves its spot in the limelight, and not just in 2018.

The marigold has been around for centuries, is one of the easiest annuals to grow and rewards you with tonnes of colourful flowers throughout the summer.

Given its petite stature, it will find a place in the smallest of gardens, balconies or window boxes.

There are two types. First, the pot or common marigold, Calendula officinalis, which is a short-lived perennial and can be sown directly outside from March onwards, where you would like it to flower.

It's not fussy about soil, but prefers full sunshine and is very quick to flower from sowing - in around two months.

The other type are the French and African marigolds (tagetes) - these hail from Mexico and are half-hardy annuals so they can only go outdoors after risk of frost is gone.

To cultivate these you can sow seed from March onwards indoors. Plant seeds into single small modules or pots. They like a temperature of 21degC to germinate - a warm kitchen windowsill is ideal.

Gently acclimatise seedlings to the outdoors and transplant into their final position in May.

If you're not keen on sowing, there will be plenty of ready-to-go plants in the garden centres, but if you are buying them now make sure you don't put them outdoors yet - while temperatures have improved hugely, we may get another blast of frost - and this would destroy these tender bedding plants. A big difference between the French and African tagetes is height - the French are daintier and low growing, whereas the African are taller with larger flowers.

Beyond that, there is a huge variation in colours - from creamy whites through lemons, oranges, and reds. …

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