(Tages was an Etruscan god, but perhaps the name is of another derivation)
Even the name-Mary’s Gold-captivates us, and what could be more appropriate? The flowers of these old, old favorites are in some varieties veritably made of flakes of gold. How easy it is to be wealthy with Mary’s Gold. The Aztec (African) Marigold (T. erecla) has large balls of petals-some golden and some lemon that are universally admired. Stiff and formal though they are, they will always be favorites. They grow 2 to 5 feet tall.
The French Marigold (T. patina) is typically golden and lemon, but its flowers are often marked with crimson and maroon. They are smaller than in the other species, and the plants are more dwarf, growing only a foot tall. Hybridized with the African Marigolds, a tall strain is now on the market.
The Striped or Mexican Marigold (T. signal? pumila) is a compact, bushy sort with finely-cut leaves and golden-yellow, star like flowers of great brilliance. The foliage does not have so strong an odor as the others. This sort is not cultivated as often as it deserves. Seedsmen hide it away in their catalogs, either in small type or else they do not mention its merits as an ideal edging plant.
Where to Plant. The African Marigolds are a bold addition in the background of the border and in large beds. The French and Mexican forms are excellent edging plants, their shining flowers appearing to good advantage. All three are useful for cut flowers, because of their good keeping qualities and stiff stems. A favorite combination for the table is Marigolds and Larkspur. When most other flowering plants are becoming dry and brown in the Fall, the Marigolds show up in all their brilliance. Must we add, for the sake of truth, that the plants have a peculiar odor which is offensive to some persons?
GENERAL. Marigolds. being perfectly hardy, can be sown in a warm spot very early in the Spring. They will stand transplanting nicely. Set all three sorts at least 18 inches apart; the tall sorts may well be set 3 feet apart. They prefer the lighter soils and a sunny exposure, but are adaptable to less favorable places. Give the taller sorts a stout support early in growth to keep them neatly upright.
In saving seed from our own plants it is wise to pull up such as do not meet our ideals, allowing only the best to set seed.