Celebrating with Marigolds and Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas and Marigolds have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and hydrangeas in particular have fascinated me since childhood. Sadly, I somehow always ended up living in countries where it was far too hot to grow them in our own garden, so I admired them in other people’s houses or parks, promising myself that someday, someday soon I would treat myself to a plant.

Marigolds, on the other hand, are a constant no matter where I live and what occasion I attend, there will always be a marigold present. Humble and simple thought the marigold is, it is also a common denominator among several religions and carries with it numerous symbolisms. After living 12 years in India it was almost impossible to avoid the marigolds, especially since they were always strewn together to decorate entrances and doors for whatever grand occasions. So although many will associate this ball of orange and yellow sunshine with healing, sadness, or jealousy, I associate them with celebrations, good wishes, offerings to the gods, and creativity. Linked to the sun by colour and association of power, the marigold ushers in brightness and revitalises those in despair. However, in certain countries like Mexico, the marigold is closely associated to the dead and hence their common presence in cemeteries or during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. The idea here is to remind us that in spite of death and the departure of our loved ones, life goes on.

When I daughter asked me whether I preferred cut flowers for my birthday or a potted plant, I said that I will always, always choose a potted plant over cut flowers. So she surprised me with a pot of marigolds and a pot of hydrangeas! What a joy to be surrounded by these flowers again! My little garden now feels complete, with the thriving lavender, rose, geraniums, mint and rosemary, and I feel blessed (once again I managed to kill the sage… ). So to answer your question, ECB, yes, I do plants to thrive!

The common theme of my birthday gifts this year was effort. Maike and I prepared a sumptuous brunch together, and one of my soul sisters graced us with her marvellous presence. Her arrival was truly the great gift of physical effort as well, since she came clear across town on her bike, taking far longer than what Google Maps had announced. Then there was the birthday cake that MLTU baked for me in Manila to share on our Zoom call today, the hilarious video messages from SG, or the packet of love, cats and frogs from BW, and messages from all over. Thank you, thank you, thank YOU for showering me with your efforts, generosity, love, friendship and affection.

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