This year has been declared ‘Year of the Marigold’ with events going on around the world to showcase the variety and beauty of the marigold family.
The announcement follows last year’s successful ‘Year of the Zinnia’ which culminated in 20 varieties being awarded the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society after a year of trials testing their reliability and performance in the garden.
RHS Garden Wisley is holding a new trial this year with over 150 new varieties of marigold under scrutiny. The trial will be mirrored by similar displays in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris and Ega Park in Erfurt, Germany.
Look out for both French and African marigolds on display here at the garden centre in Broughshane this spring in a dazzling array of colours. African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) have bigger flowers – up to 12cm across in some varieties – and are taller, at around 60-80cm. Taller varieties look wonderful as a colourful backdrop to hot-coloured border plants in midsummer.
French marigolds (T. patula) are smaller and bushier, with densely-petalled flowers around 5cm across. There’s an incredible range of colours and patterns, including bicoloured and striped, single or double flowers. They are in flower earlier than African marigolds, starting in spring and carrying on through till the first frosts. Plant en masse to edge borders or fill pots to overflowing. They’ll also keep whitefly away planted in a carpet under tomatoes in the greenhouse.
Sow marigolds from seed now in a heated propagator, ready to plant out from April once all threat of frost has passed: you’ll find a fabulous range of tagetes seed on our seed racks. Alternatively, make a note to pop into the garden centre from March onwards, when bedding marigolds will be available for filling your baskets, containers and borders to overflowing with jazzy colour.