Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Mexican Marigolds - Cempoalxochitl, the Flower of the Dead

The Cempoalxochitl (marigolds) in our garden
These flowers have been growing beautifully in our back flower bed. They are Mexican Marigolds, called Cempoalxochitl (pronounced cem-pa-SU-chil) in Mexico, which is the Aztec name.

The story behind these is more significant than our other gardening endeavours.  At the beginning of November, we celebrated Mexico's Day of the Dead by making traditional alters to the deceased nearest to us.  To read about the altars, and see pictures, read:

Day of the Dead - An Altar for my Grandparents
Remebering Someone Dear to Us

The main flowers used on these altars, as well as in other parts of the decoration are Mexican Marigolds.  After taking down the altars on Nov. 3, we placed the flowers on top of our book shelf to dry.  When my wife's mom arrived at the end of the same month, she found them, and remembered that they grow easily.  So, she removed the seeds and sprinkled them into a flowering pot we had sitting in the back yard.  Within a few days, the plants were sprouting out.
A close up of a full Cempoalxochitl flower

In January, when I transplanted them to our newly extended flower bed, they still didn't have any flowers.  There is now a total of about 15 - 20.

For a little about the tradition of the flowers and other symbols related with the holidays, read:

Day of the Dead - The Symbols and Traditional Elements

Some more flowers - these ones never opened fully
For more about my gardening, read:

Our homegrown tomatoes
More Gardening - Our Mini Rose Bush

My Papaya Tree and Our First Homegrown Papaya

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