2.11.2011

RETHINKING MARIGOLDS


They are growing everywhere here, pots filled at the humblest village doors and the grandest hotels.


Everywhere you turn, a riot of oranges and yellows (and ambers and ochres and saffrons and gold all those other wonderful sunny hues) tumbling over the edges of walls.


They are snipped and strung into necklaces to hang at the shrines of the gods, or arranged in a decorative pattern in bowls at entries to homes and guest houses.


The colors of the flowers leap straight into the dyes of the fabrics, and marigolds are all over the streets too, and in the fields, on turbans and saris, on the banners of blessings.  I used to turn my nose up at marigolds--I rarely had them in my garden, and I don’t like the sight of ribbons of them as edging to a bed. But a profusion of them? Fantastic.


Marigolds remind me of the constant cycle of plant vogues; they are like carnations, which have also been shunned by plant snobs, and are horrid in bouquets when they’ve been so perverted by the machinations of florists who dye them unworldly colors. But true to themselves, carnations are interestingly sweet.


Marigolds have always had a lot going for them. They’re right up there with zinnias in the Indian gardens--bold in color and graphic in design. Marigolds are sunshine, a warm welcome, and the promise of good fortune drawn straight from their sunny hearts.

15 comments:

Watercolor said...

Oh I love marigolds! I love the giant ones that get as big as your hand and all the bees and bugs that flit over to them!

by Joan Gage said...

I'm here in Mexico at the moment, remembering the brilliant celebrations of the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, featuring mainly golden marigolds and red cox combs.

pavlova said...

How right you are! I shall toss my snobbish view of marigolds and add them to my garden this spring. Thank you for your inspirational posts as you journey through this magical land.
Michelle

Bruce Barone said...

I plan to plant them in my vegetable garden this Spring as they keep pests away!

Katharine said...

I've never liked the smell of marigolds but seeing your pictures I'm thinking about them in a whole new way. All of your photographs from India have been luscious --an elixir her in the tired snow in NYC.

KnitNana said...

Marigolds are the perfect companion plant to tomatoes when you are planting an organic garden...they keep the nematodes away from your precious red fruit (and increase the yield)!
*wink*

mary said...

The power of the various marigold colors is tremendous. Admittedly, I hadn't thought about marigolds in years, but seeing your photos, I realize how much I used to like them. thanks, Mary

Maria Wheeler, Simply Cool Stuff said...

Oh how I have enjoyed this chronicle of your trip, Dominique. Coincidentally my son was also in India at the same time and experienced the trip of a lifetime. So my husband and I are able to live vicariously through the photos and stories; in the telling I am certain this is one place on earth one must visit to get the full impact.
I posted Ode to India a week or so ago and you may be interested in seeing some of his photos as well. Glad you had such a wonderful trip; I loved reading about it.
http://simplycoolstuff.blogspot.com/2011/01/ode-to-india.html

Claudia Juestel said...

What insightful coverage of this vast and magical country.

I have only been twice and cannot wait to go back! India is so complex, and I very much enjoyed your observations beyond the expected, also showing every day life of the average citizens, and beautifully enhanced with captivating photography.

Cheers,

Claudia

Cristina said...

I've liked every post, every word, every emotion, every photo with its beautiful colours, its unexpected shots, its fascinating views.
I wouldn't have imagined that you'd be able to give so mich time to your blog, whilst away on this magical trip. Fantastic!

Nicola said...

Wow what fantastic colours really beautiful.

Warren said...

I need my shades. The colors are just what I need on another grey day in Seattle.

Blue said...

Marigolds, Marguerites and Sweet Peas - not the subtlest of combinations but one that lives bright in childhood memory. I love 'em all. What I wish is to be able to buy a carnation that smelled as it once did - sharp, sweet and spicy.

Anita Singh Soin said...

In India bright yellow and orange marigold flowers are used in their thousands in garlands and to decorate religious statues and buildings. They are also used as offerings and decoration at funerals, weddings and other ceremonies. For love and prayer, there is no duality in the flowers used for offerings.

Dominique said...

Thank you Anita! I love having your knowledge to clear things up--Anita is, with her husband, behind the wizardry of Ibex Expeditions! My question: WHY THE MARIGOLD? What made that flower become so important? Was it the profusion? the color? does it have some mythological significance?