Marigold in October :: Birth Flower of the Month
It's exciting to know that our Birth Flower this month is an edible one! And not only edible, the petals from Marigold flowers are also highly prized for skin & hair care, and have been used for centuries in home made beauty treatments.
Let's discover a bit more about this useful and beautiful birth flower for October.... including some recipes for beauty treatments using the petals. After all, with Halloween coming up, what better time to celebrate a flower with fantastically orange petals, that lends itself to a little drama?
Marigolds, or Calendula to call them their botanical name, are herbaceous flowering plants which are much loved for their bright orange daisy-like petals. They do actually come in paler colours too, like creams and buffs, but the wildly toned bright orange is more commonly grown.
The traditional marigold harvest in India, where thousands of gloriously golden orange flower heads are picked and gathered, is an explosion of colour. The marigold flower is sacred in India, and is used to decorate statues of Hindu deities, as well as being used extensively in wedding ceremonies, where the flowers are sewn into garlands to drape around the bride and groom, as well as guests.
Often grown in vegetable gardens because they deter veggie-munching insects, marigolds are known as a gardener's friend. While discouraging unwanted insects, they also attract the good guys. The attracted insects feed on the insects which may otherwise feed on the veggies. They also deter nematodes. French Marigolds are Companion Plants to tomatoes in particular, but to all veggie plants generally.
In the traditional Language of Flowers, a gift of Marigold would suggest the gifter was devoted to the recipient, and that they believed the recipient to be elegant. As a birth flower, it carries the same meaning, suggesting people born in October are full of warm personality.
BOTANICAL notes about MARIGOLDS
Calendula are part of the Asteraceae daisy family, so they share a family tree with sunflowers, asters and daisies. Thought to have originated in south western Asia, the Mediterranean and western Europe, they were taken to India via trading routes, where they became an important flower in religious and social ceremonies.
There are annual and perennial varieties. The annual flowers will often self seed to produce a crop the following year, while the perennial plants continue to flower for many years. Coming in to flower in mid winter, they will flower right through to late autumn in a sunny warm climate, making them an almost year round flower. The plants are small and bushy, and both the foliage and flowers have the distinctive "marigold" scent.
They look fabulous when used as border edging plants, as they tend to grow in a clump formation. Regularly cutting the spent flowers will encourage more flowering.
Calendulas are tolerant of poor soil conditions, and are highly adaptable. (So much so, that in some rural areas, they can self seed and become naturalised.) The annuals can be grown readily from seed, and the perennials can be propagated through division.
Gift Ideas for October Birthdays...
Now this month is a super easy one for birthday gifts, because you could either gift a bunch of pale creamy marigolds, tied up with navy ribbon, or perhaps celebrate the occasion by presenting a garland of marigold flowers for the birthday person to wear on their day. For more lasting gifts, you could choose marigold soap, or maybe marigold face creme or a French Yellow Clay & Marigold face mask sachet. For a gardener, a packet of heirloom calendula seeds or a pot of flowering French marigolds if they are in season where you live.
DIY recipes for Calendula Beauty Treatments:
If you are feeling creative, you could make one of these recipes for beauty treatments, using marigold flowers. Lovely as a gift, or simply to use yourself.
Calendula Lotion, useful for a salve on sunburn, cuts & abrasions.
Vegan Healing Balm, beeswax free of course!
Calendula conditioner hair spritz, said to be particularly useful for brightening blonde hair.
A Sugar Scrub infused with marigold petals.