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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Reflecting on Marigolds

I've always thought of marigolds as lowly annuals my mother planted as borders. A common, humble, dull, pathetic flower. A flower to be planted in straight lines in the summer garden.

Traveling has changed the marigold for me. I can now see the richness of its color and its beauty in a garland.

In India and Nepal, offerings of marigolds fill shrine niches and drape figures of Hindu gods. Marigold garlands, both fresh and dried, hang in swags on houses and businesses. They collect in the cracks on the streets, adorn weddings, and accompany the dead.

Day of the Dead altars in Mexico are strewn with marigolds. Symbols of grief and prosperity. And I read that early Christians placed marigold (Mary's Gold) garlands near statues of the Virgin Mary.

While I'm stepping through the snow in my back yard, I'm looking at the garden. Next summer, I'm going to plant lots of marigolds.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Chani said...

I hope you do! They will remind you of Nepal. I planted three crepe myrtle trees to remind me of Thailand. :)

Peace,

~Chani

2:51 PM  
Blogger jen said...

it's the vivid orangeness of them...i agree. something somewhat disregarded here is startling and perfect in the east.

a few other things come to mind, as well.

3:05 PM  
Blogger meno said...

Have you seen the movie "Monsoon Wedding?" Extensive use of the gorgeous orange marigold.

I hear that they keep the slugs away too, which where i live is ever so important.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Chani: Yes, they'll remind me of all sorts of wonderful places. Sigh of happiness.

Jen: They are wonderfully vivid, aren't they? Why have I always overlooked that before?

Meno: Yes, I have seen the movie and all those marigolds are wonderful! I know they keep slugs away, but that's feeling much to utilitarian to me at the moment. (Then again, it's a long way from Spring/Summer here.)

4:31 PM  
Blogger KC said...

What a luscious picture. Yes, vivid. And rich.

7:09 PM  
Blogger QT said...

I think seeing them en masse it what makes them so striking, whereas here, we tend to dot them throughout the garden. They were one of the first things I ever planted as a child.

Monsoon Wedding is a wonderful movie - I love it when the weddingplanner/coordinator dude just starts to eat them.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I confess I saw marigolds the same way. Recently took a useful likeness too them as great garden protectors. But this puts a whole new spin of loveliness on them.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Sanjay said...

Nice picture and yes you are right about Marigold garlands in India and Nepal. They are indeed big and used for all religious adornments.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Oh, I love Marigolds! Unfortunately, my yard is much too shady for them, but if you post pictures of yours, I can enjoy them vicariously through you. My mom always had a long line of them at the edge of the garden.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous gr said...

Lucia, few flowers are easier to grow than marigolds, and I have heard they ward off mosquitos. DOUBLE plus to this incompetent gardener.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

I love marigolds. They reminded me of little suns as a kid. I hope you do plant them, and take lots and lots of pictures for us.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Bo said...

Beautiful.

1:49 PM  

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