It seems to me that as soon as a flower proves that it has no problem surviving in a particular climate, someone slaps the label “wildflower”. To we snobbish gardeners, being a wildflower is like being the trailer park beauty queen. All the boys want her number but nobody is taking her to the party. Such is the case with the marsh marigold.
The marsh marigold, or cowslip as it’s known to its close friends, is a wildflower. Technically, as the name would imply, marsh marigolds grow in marshy areas. Most descriptions of it would imply that they will only grow in consistently wet and shady areas, but from personal experience, I can honesty state these things will grow anywhere except severe drought.
It grows beautifully all over my yard and my neighbor’s yard (which is where I snitched them from to begin with). It grows best where the ground is consistently wet and the light is shady, but there are many areas where it only gets marsh like conditions for a few weeks per year. The rest of the year, the conditions are dry with normal rainfall providing the water. As a matter of fact, my neighbor has theirs up on a mound that could not possibly stay wet all year.
Marsh marigolds bloom in early spring and are done blooming by late spring. After that, their dark green, ruffled heart shaped leaves make a great ground cover for the remainder of the year. From what I can tell, they are evergreen. So even in the winter months, they add a nice green color to an otherwise drab winter.
The flowers are yellow and are family to buttercups. It has knock-off petals that look like the petals you would pay big bucks for but in fact they are really petaloid sepals.
Best of all, when the rest of the garden is still trying to decide if it is safe to come out yet, marsh marigolds are dotting the world with little yellow spots of sunshine.
The real problem is that they are easy. Easy flowers just don’t get the respect that they should. The gardeners all talk about how great those wildflowers are but your big box nursery just would not approve of that kind of “wildflower” relationship.