Mention Indian Marigold to many people and the conversation will turn to exotic hotels or cheap rubber gloves, but it is the flower that this blog will focus on.
The name stems from Mary’s Gold and from a time when early Christians placed flowers on alters as offerings to the Virgin Mary when they had no coins to give. The marigold has played a part in many cultures across the world but perhaps its biggest role has been and continues to be in India.
In India marigolds are called genda and are grown in huge numbers for the creation of garlands for weddings and festivals when they are used to decorate buildings, cars and of course, people. Simple strings of genda beads are made with strong thread and a needle. The needle is pushed into the base of the flower and out through the bloom and repeated until the string is long enough to be joined and worn. More complicated and thicker garlands require incredibly dexterous twisting, turning and tying of raffia to hold the hundreds of colourful blooms in place.
In India the marigold flowers symbolise passion, creativity and auspiciousness and the vibrant yellow/gold colour signifies renunciation. Hence the garlands are offered in many different ceremonies.
Wanting to add a variety of Indian Marigold to our range Dobies have searched for and found the best variety, Kushi Mix meaning “joy” in Hindi. We’ve grown Kushi at our trial grounds here in Devon and they’ve proven to be strong and weather tolerant making it the perfect variety to cope with a British summer!
Kushi Mix plants grow to a height of up to 90cm but are study and need no staking or support. This height makes them ideal for cutting. But here’s the dilemma. Do you cut them and place them in a vase or do you have a go at making a traditional garland? Or maybe both?