These days, in the morning when I leave, or upon my return in the evening, I watch my Calendula officinalis (pot marigold) blooming in a corner of the front bed. I have always liked this flower and when I came upon a package filled with seeds I bought it and spread the seeds without paying any more attention to it. A few weeks went by in spring and slowly tiny seedlings appeared. As it got warmer, the plants grew. But now, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, every day more flowers appear and there seems to be no end in sight.
Our neighbors in the house in Bunnik, Holland, always had Calendula officinalis in their garden, and I admired its orange golden flowers. However, Calendula, when planted too close together or in conditions not to their liking (not enough sun!), tends to get covered by aphids and they also attract white flies. The hedge planted (by our neighbor) on the property line between the two households also attracted more than its fair share of aphids, and the combination hedge and Calendula was enough to send my father over the edge in his fight against aphids. Of course, in those days it was not uncommon for the homeowner to own its share of poisons against every conceivable “pest”. I am quite sure when the neighbors weren’t home, my dad would spray the hedge and Calendula to prevent the spread of aphids. I am a bit more tolerant of pests and have learned that beneficial insects are sure to arrive soon after the pests are spotted and they will handle the “pest removal”, i.e. eat them. However, my patch of Calendula doesn’t host any aphids and even Dad would give it a thumbs up. With the winter solstice behind us I will be ending this year with more daylight each day and bright flowers in my garden. Talk about a win-win!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!