Wednesday, March 23, 2011

{adoring white marigolds}

I've fallen for marigolds...a flower that was once on my
'never plant' list.......
(I'm not a fan of orange flowers~especially ones that have more of an
'odor' rather than a 'scent')
now, since I've discovered the white marigold...they're at the top of my list.
I purchased a seed packet of 'Snowman Hybrids'

and was quite surprised when I opened it to find about 15 seeds inside! My plan was to plant a living white fence around my vegetable garden...I'm going to need alot more seed packets!
Aren't marigolds one of the prolific seeders, making their seeds quite inexpensive?

Apparently only the orange variety...the ones school children
sow in styrofoam cups in the classroom.
A little research led me to some interesting White Marigold history,
and perhaps the reason for the costly seeds.

Seems it took 56 years to find the right recipe mix to produce a white marigold.
In 1954, after many unsuccessful years,
David Burpee, (son of the founder, W. Atlee Burpee),
offered a prize of $10,000 to home gardeners
to help the professional breeders.

David Burpee in a feild of marigolds.

(image via

More than 8,000 gardeners answered the
challenge and sent in their seeds each year.

Alice Vonk of Sully, Iowa, started her first garden when she was 11-years old,
the same year that David Burpee started his search for the white marigold.
When the contest was announced, she sent in her seeds for testing.
For 21 years, she continued sending seeds, hoping she had the winning mixture.

The Burpee Company had spent more than $250,000 on researching
and testing the seeds which had been sent in during the years they ran the contest.
As the years dragged on, finding a mix for the white marigold seemed almost
impossible. So it was with great appreciation that Burpee finally awarded the prize
to Alice Vonk in September, 1975.

Alice and David Burpee

image via flickr

Her years of perseverance had paid off;
she had found the right mix of seeds.
Today, 36 years later, the 2 ½ inch-across white marigold developed by Vonk,
named Snowball, may be found every January
in the Burpee catalogue, as well as a few other white varities they've since developed.
Thank you Alice...I have a new appreciation for these valuable little seeds!
As for my living white fence around my vegetable garden? may be a little spacey!

Linking up with Kathleen at Faded Charm for White Wednesday!
And Tracie at Fishtail Cottage for Cottage Flora Thursday!


Julie Harward said...

What an amazing story! I am so glad she stuck with it..they are beautiful! And I have always liked the smell..strange huh! ;D

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

LOL A little I can relate! I didn't know there was a white marigold...I love them! I guess these don't come in a flat at Lowe's huh? I think they should!

Have a great week!

Lou Cinda :)

Victoria said...

How amazing to actually develop a flower, or at least a breed of flower (do flowers have breeds?). They're so beautiful!!!

I'm glad you like my In the Garden sign but I'm still keeping my eyes peeled for a birdie sign, then the garden sign can actually go IN my garden...aka my deck:)

Happy WW!

Tutti Chic said...

Awesome post Paula! I LOVE white marigolds. Discovered them a few years ago & fell in love with their white beauty. SO funny how the color can change to orange & it's an instant ick! I LOVE my new sign-THANK YOU! xo chris

Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

White marigolds...wonderful! Orange and gold are not my favorite colors at all!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

The white marigolds are nice. I've never been attracted to this flower either because I'm not a fan of orange but I'd plant the white. Some flowers have such a history.

Becca's Dirt said...

Oh my goodness what a beautiful flower. I've only seen a few shades of marigolds. I understand your fascination and it would make a beautiful border for your gardens.

Olive said...

I love this story and I have never seen the white marigolds before. Visiting from Flora Thursdays.

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

I just ordered some of these, Paula. If you go to the Burpee site, you'll get about 50 seeds per packet.

Paula ~ castleandcottagesigns said...

Thanks PJ! I saw those but just thought 21cents a seed was kinda pricey:)
I've since found these...Kilimanjaro Whites from Pinetree Garden seeds ~
a little bit less for 50. I think I'm going to stick with my 15 this year and collect seeds for next year:)

managed exchange said...

wow! Beauty!! It's so refreshing to look at them!

Southwest Cottage Designs said...

How pretty! I didn't realize there was a white Marigold. I would love to plant some. I've found you at Cottage Flora Thursdays. I'm your new follower and would be delighted for you to follow me, too. Have a blessed day!

Jenny said...

I'm joining the club - I never knew there was a white marigold, too, but I'll be keeping my eye out for them, now.


Lynn said...

OHgosh I have to get some white ones! I too, am not an "orange" person, except for pumpkins and since I saw the "white pumpkins" on blogs, I am loving them now. Hmmm have to check this out. Thanks for the history, I love aspects like that, I love researching anything that interests me. Blessings.

Lisa said...

I'm in heaven, I love marigolds, and especially the white ones. Oh and the green one is so beautiful! I have only white iris left from my all white garden! I'd say, that's a long time to wait for winning! But she believed! I love this post, maybe, because Spring is on the way?

xoxo Lisa

Blondie's Journal said...

I knew a little bit about the history of the white marigold. For awhile, even after it was introduced, it was a yellowish white and they have worked on improving it. I think I am going to try to plant a pot full. We don't have much luck with seeds as our season is so short, but I can start a pot indoors. Thanks, Paula!


Fishtail Cottage said...

Oh, how i love that you shared the history of the marigold - fantastic to read about this. I love those white ones - I believe, i've only seen the gold...Thanks so much for linking this amazing post to Cottage Flora Thursday's - xoxo, Tracie

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing this - I am going to have to find these wonders - I already have baby marigolds popping up from last year's plants - I welcome volunteers -but these would be spectacular!
Love it!

Unknown said...

I love your signs on Etsy- Fabulous

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

Oh my.....I am clicking right over to find some white marigold seeds on the internet. I, too, have been fond of marigolds or orange or yellow flowers but I am loving that white. I did once plant the regular variety around my veggie garden. Whether it kept the bugs away I don't know. Bye to find and order. :) xoxo

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Oh my...I never knew they come in WHITE...thanks for the info!!! I'm lovin' my planter:)


michelle said...

It always amazes me how they "create" flowers. These are gorgeous and do so great here. My mom used to have the gold ones outline our driveway every summer and I love the smell of them. I will have to look for the white ones now!!