Try Tagetes... Again

Tagetes is the species name for marigold, a nice, easily grown annual flower which some people hate because of its "stinky" foliage. There are varieties of marigold which have little or no "marigold" odor, such as T. erecta 'Vanilla' or 'White One' (new). T. erecta is the name of the common tall or "African marigold."

There are also a couple of wonderful perennial varieties that are perfect for Sierra Vista/Cochise County gardens. The first is T. lemmoni, a native to Southeastern Arizona. It is a large shrubby plant, and the leaves have a very strong odor. Depending on whose nose is sniffing, it can remind one of marigolds and lemon, or marigolds and mint. The fragrance (or odor, if you will) is only noticeable when you brush against the plant, so you won't smell it if you leave it alone. It covers itself with golden flowers and so far the deer around here have refused to eat it. The other is T. lucida the common name Sunset Western Garden Book says is "Mexican tarragon." This is a very pretty plant with leaves that are about three inches long and only a quarter inch or so wide. When "pinched" the aroma is strong licorice or anise. The clear yellow flowers are small, but the plant covers itself with clusters and clusters of them. It is slow to come up in the spring, so remember where you planted it and you won't disturb it when you start digging and planting! It blooms in late summer until frost in my garden.

Maggi Crist
January, 1996