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Feast your eyes on these. Don’t they just make you feel warm to the tips of your toes?

They’re the marigolds left over from a summer of tomato-growing in my greenhouse. I confess, contrary to anything they tell you to do in the textbooks, I didn’t bother pulling up my tomatoes at the end of the season and just left them in the greenhouse to wait until I got around to clearing them up. In the meantime, the marigolds have taken over, growing tall and lusty and generally flourishing until they’re filling the whole space with glowing, warm orange and amber.

The funny thing is, I haven’t done a thing to help them out. I haven’t watered them, fed them, dead-headed them or in any way paid them any attention since about August. And they love it: they’re flowering their little hearts out. What’s more, they’re ridiculously healthy – not a hint of mildew, just big, hefty, happy plants.

Next year I shall try to remember just how drought-tolerant marigolds are. And that sometimes, leaving things well alone is much the best way to garden.

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