I love to garden. I come by it naturally. Both sets of my Grandparents love/loved it. My Mother loves it. My cousin really loves it. And for me, it has become a large part of our homestead lifestyle.
My Grandpa Roy died when I was maybe 12 years old. He was fun and silly and hardworking. He was also a true gardener. He planted a garden every year and each and every garden could be described as nothing less than.... well, epic. I remember those gardens. I remember that he always planted giant pumpkins. He told us that his pumpkin patch was always the most Sincere and every year he would convince us that one of those monsters was "The Great Pumpkin". He planted all the usual stuff. Tomatoes, sweet and juicy and red. Beans and greens and onions. One other thing his garden was never without is Marigolds.
I don't know if he planted them for their beneficial bug reducing properties or if he just loved their bright color and happy faces, but his garden never lacked for several varieties.
A few years ago I started planting Marigolds in my garden in rememberence of his lovely plot. Marigolds weren't my favorite flower, and in fact, I wasn't really all that enthusiastic about them as a flower at all. But they made me think of him and smile and so I always bought one four pack to tuck in amongst the veggies. One four pack soon became two, and then three, and then many. One day I realized that I have fallen in love with this unassuming beauty. I look forward to picking out the Marigolds almost more than surfing the seed catalogs for heirloom tomatoes and beans. I cannot imagine a garden without them in it.
And so now, with a tip of my sun bonnet to my Grandpa Roy, and fresh dirt between my toes, my garden will forevermore include Marigolds.