I sometimes personify the plants in my garden. It’s interesting to think of them as archetypes: Hybrid tea roses, for example, become beautiful, but fussy prom queens; baptisia a completely self-sufficient farmboy who gets the job done; and passionflowers the foreign-exchange students who many folks never get to know because they seem too exotic.
And there’s calendula — the quiet, shy girl everyone seems to overlook even though she has such a wide range of talents. I don’t grow calendula in my garden every year, though I really should.
The bright yellow or orange blooms are perfect for adding a dose of color to the spring landscape. The flowers attract bees and butterflies and appear over a long season. Both the foliage and the flowers are edible (and fragrant!). While bitter on their own, the flower petals make a great garnish and I’ve been told you can use them as an inexpensive substitute for saffon. Or if you don’t want to cook with calendulas, they’re great cut flowers. Though calendula is an annual, it often self-seeds when it’s happy, so plant it once and you may always be able to enjoy it in your garden — or have seedlings to share with gardening friends.