October’s birth flower, the Calendula, is truly a symbol of fall and crisp mornings. It’s bright golden and burnt color palette makes it reminiscent of a beautifl autumn sunrise. Also referred to as the Pot Marigold, the Calendula is truly a delight for florists and in the garden due to it’s beatuful colour and it’s hardy nature. Whether potted as a unique hioliday gift or planted in your border, the Calendula will delight and inspire.
History, Meanings and Uses
The calundula’s name comes from the English “calendar”. It is dsaid that the Calendula took this name because of it’s monthly blooms. Monks used to enjoy its beautiful blossoms year-round as the flowers would surround their altars and bloom until they were covered with snow.
Like the Sunflower, the Calendula’s blossoms follow the sun, and were used as protection against evil by early Christians. The Calendula represents affection, jealousy, grief and many other feelings associated with love.
The Calendula uses are well known throughout the culinary and homeopathic healing worlds. In the kitchen, the Calendula is used to brighten up and add a slightly spicy flavour to greens. The petals were also used to substitute for saffron in the cooking pots of the poor – hence the name “Pot Marigold.”
The medicinal uses of the Calendula are almost limitless. Its leaves and petals can be used for everything as a tincture for headaches to an ointment for insect bites. Oil from the seeds is used in soap products and the extract, to combat acne.
Like their cousin, the Common Marigold, the Calendula is extremely hardy and weather resistant. The can withstand a moderate frost and do well in full sun or part-shade. They actually thrive in cool weather and will bloom until the ground is completely frozen.
Plant Calendula seeds mid-spring and be sure to deadhead often to prolong blooming. They like rich, well drained soil but can survive just about anywhere and are perfect to mix into your vegetable patch for a shock of colour.
Go ahead and stock your gardens full of Calendula. They are perfect for unique holiday gifts; a Thanksgiving table would shine with their bright golden blooms. They are perfect for bridal bouquets and a simple token to show your appreciation and feelings. And they are a gardener’s delight; as hardy and useful as the day is long.