Thomas J. Story
To admire marigolds in all their glory, you have two equally beautiful options.
You could travel to the marigold's horticultural epicenter, the city of Oaxaca in south-central Mexico. In late fall, when the townsfolk celebrate the Day of the Dead ― which happens to coincide with marigolds' peak bloom ― the city glows with the flowers in every conceivable combination of yellow, gold, orange, and russet, says Howard Shapiro, vice president of agriculture at Seeds of Change and an ardent marigold admirer. The breadth of the genus is stunning, he says. "There are literally tens of thousands of varieties."
The other option is much closer to home. Simply head to your local garden center and cast your eyes on the glowing array of marigolds. Fill up a cart with your favorites, then plant them in beds, borders, or pots. The flower show starts almost immediately.