by germinatrix | December 7th, 2009
It’s DECEMBER! How did THAT happen?
I love it … Los Angeles finally cools down in December. I am wearing sweaters and a warm coat (even though it is only 63 degrees – I know, I don’t know what REAL cold is!) and I’m feeling quite cozy.
But by the look of things outside, one would think that it’s the middle of summer! While other climates are hunkering down for the winter and gardens are going fallow, here in Los Angeles the hottest harbinger of Christmas has started to bloom! Tagetes lemonii, otherwise known as Pot Marigold, Mexican Marigold, or Copper Canyon Daisy, is holding court in a BIG way – especially here in this lovely hillside garden I worked on last year.
Tagetes lemonii is such a workhorse – an undeniable asset in any garden, but especially in the tough, drought tolerant, succulent mad landscapes I love. It pairs beautifully with grasses and playfully tickles the sturdy leaves of large scale agaves, complimenting them and showing that they, too, can have a soft side. I also LOVE it paired with my current plant crush – Acacia covenyi, a GORGEOUS gray leaved small scale tree (or big shrub – you can decide based on your pruning technique). You can see them in close proximity in the photo above – I SWOON!
This is not a plant without controversy! Some people can’t stand the smell – others adore it. I’m somewhere in the middle. I like it, but I tend to plant it where you have to go out of your way to brush up against it and enjoy its pungent herbal note – as opposed to something like lavender, which I’ll plant next to a path or a seating area for easy olfactory access.
This shrubby perennial gets BIG, so cutting back a couple of times a year is a MUST. I’ve read that one should cut it before flowering – I don’t. I cut it after flowering and have always been very happy with the results. But of course, if you cut if after a flowering you are technically cutting it before the next flowering, so … whatever. Potato, po TAH to!
So if you are a lover of plants that bring the hot colors, and you want some late fall flower color – what are you waiting for? Plant this crazy daisy and have a hot holiday season!