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that reaches a height of eight inches and are available in double-crested flowers with colours ranging from yellow to gold and orange and bi-colours. Another interesting variety is ‘Striped Marvel’ which features burgundy and gold striped blossoms on two-foot-tall plants. Delicate nature

Signet marigolds are often described as dainty plants.

They have single flowers the size of a dime with colours ranging from yellow and gold to a deep orange. The plants feature compact growth, six to 12 inches in height. Varieties to look for include ‘Tangerine Gem’ that features a brilliant orange colour, and ‘Paprika’ with its bright red petals edged in gold. Basic care

Marigolds are one of the easiest flowers to grow from

seed. As long as you offer them warmth (20 C) you really can’t fail. You can sow them directly in the garden but they will not bloom until late summer. The best way

to propagate them is to start the seeds indoors six weeks before the last expected spring frost. You can use a plas- tic bakery clamshell to plant them in. Fill with potting mix and then lightly press the seeds into the soil. Then sprinkle a fine dusting of soil on top. Mist the soil to keep it moist but never wet. Set the container in a warm, bright location. Close the lid on the clamshell or cover with plastic if using a pot. Once germinated keep the soil moist and take the cover

off. Thin the seedlings to encourage individual growth — when thinning be careful not to disturb the roots. A good technique is to simply pinch off the unwanted seedlings with a pair of tweezers. Plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. A sunny spot with well-drained soil will suit them just fine. v Gerald Filipski is a member of the Garden Writers Asso-

ciation of America. Gerald’s column appears weekly in the Edmonton Journal and he is the author of Just Ask Jerry.

Marigolds are good companion plant for gardens because they are not only colourful, but also naturally repel insects.

Your best companion V

egetable gardeners have been long time advo- cates for marigolds. Besides adding a touch of colour to the garden they are excellent compan-

ion plants for vegetable crops. African and French mari- golds produce a substance called alpha-terthienyl which suppresses nematodes and microscopic worms that can attack the roots of plants. French marigolds are espe- cially helpful for repelling these pests and are often interplanted with tomato plants for this reason. These little flowers also deter cabbageworms, providing great companionship for cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Some studies suggest it is the mari- gold’s scent that repels these pests in their search for food. You can incorporate marigolds in the vegetable garden near plants you wish to protect, surround the bed with a row of colour or plant them interspersed between plants, either way they will help to make your vegetable garden both pretty and healthy. Marigold container combos

Janie ‘Tangerine’ marigold with blue ageratum and creeping jenny.

‘Bonanza Flame’ dwarf marigold with blue ageratum and dusty miller with a dracaena spike.

‘Tangerine Gem’ marigold with trailing 'Sapphire Blue' lobelia.

Geranium ‘Maverick Scarlet’ with Janie ‘Bright Yellow’ marigold and white bacopa.

Yellow ‘Inca II’ marigolds in the centre, royal purple petunias surrounding, with mini blue-veined Supertunia.

All marigolds. ‘Tangerine Orange’, ‘Paprika’ and ‘Lemon gem’. Spectacular!

Summer 2016 • 15

Photo courtesy of Ball Horticultural Inc.

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