Friday, April 9, 2010

French Marigolds - What's In A Name?

Marigolds are a member of the aster family and number in the tens of thousands of species. They are an ancient flower that has been popular for many centuries. The flower was well-known in the era of Roman and Greek gods and derived its original name, "Compositae," from the grandson of Jupiter and its complex flower head that is really comprised of many flowers. So how did it come to be known as Marigold? Because these flowers were often altar flowers placed there to honor the Virgin Mary and thus were given the nickname of "Mary's Gold" which, quite naturally, was corrupted into Marigold.

Many years ago when we had a vegetable garden, we heard that Marigolds deter insects, so we planted them along the entire perimeter of the garden. Even their roots are said to repel nematodes. Most nurseries carry a good supply of Marigolds at this time of year because they make a good summer plant in most areas.

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