Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Marigold Project

One of my mother's very favorite Ellen As A Small Child stories happened when I was three.  My father grew up on a farm and always spent a lot of time planting flowers and tending his huge gardens (yes, that's plural).  I grew up surrounded by peach trees, strawberry patches, potato plants, rows of tall corn plants, vines full of watermelon and squash, and many many types of beautiful flowers.

One day when we lived in Roanoke, VA, my dad went to plant a row of marigold plants along the front of our brick house.  I followed along to help, but my help consisted of pulling up each plant right after he planted it.  He'd plant one, move along to the next, and I'd pull the first one up.  (In my defense, I'm sure I had seen him pulling up weeds, and my three-year old brain must have thought I was helping.)  He kept telling me not to, and I kept doing it.  Until finally, he turned to me and slapped my hand.

Oh no, the trauma!  I went screaming and crying into the house as though I'd been whipped.  Mom was sure that it upset me so much because my dad had never, ever spanked me in any way before (and he never did again, actually), or really disciplined me much at all. So my little feelings were tremendously hurt by the terrible slap on the hand.

I eventually quieted down, and Dad got the marigolds planted, and for the several years we lived in that house we had giant gorgeous yellow and orange marigolds in the front yard.

So recently, I was cleaning out a drawer, and found a packet of marigold seeds:

I actually can't remember where they came from, or how long I've had them.  They say they cost ten cents.  I have no idea how much seeds cost, but that seems suspiciously cheap.  It does say on the back, sell by 2008.

Strike one -- they are old seeds.

Here's the back of the package:

That little chart on the bottom shows what month you should plant in.  Since I'm in Florida, I should plant between September and February.  

I am going to do it now anyway, so -- strike two.

I got some Expert Gardener potting soil, and clay pot that my Dad gave me when he moved to Georgia.

I don't know how good my chances are, but I planted the little seeds according to directions, and then gave 'em a little water.

If this works, it'll be my little flowery tribute to my Dad.  If it doesn't, then I'll go to Target and buy some actual little baby marigold plants, and that'll be my tribute.

Wish my two-strikes-against-them marigolds luck!  I'll keep you updated on their progress, or lack thereof.  


  1. I love the sound of your chilhood environment, Ellen! Even though you were doing the exact opposite of helping your dad, it's the thought that counts right? ;)

    Seeds can be pretty hardy, I wouldn't be surprised if these still had a bit of life in them.

  2. It is the thought that counts! Kinda. :)

    I hope they do still have some life in them, but nothing has happened yet. I'm not giving up quite yet, though.


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