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Woman grows giant marigold

Published 12:44am Monday, October 26, 2009

NATCHEZ — Wanda Mulvihill has had to scale back her garden in recent years.

But this year, her marigolds decided they didn’t like that scale, and they grew more than triple their normal height, reaching nine feet tall.

The marigolds were planted next to some pinkeye butterbeans in Mulvihill’s flowerbeds next to her front porch.

“I guess they saw those butter beans and had to keep up with them,” she said.

That’s the only explanation she could come up with for the mutant marigolds, which have a thick, brown stem and are tall enough to lean down over their owner. She’s cut all but one now, but the surviving plant still has flowers.

“I had one that just grew all the way around the porch, circling it,” she said.

“I love them. I’ve been growing them for years, but I’ve never seen them this big.”

The growing process started in January, when Mulvihill turned up the dirt and put in a layer of potting soil and Miracle-Gro. She put down the seeds and topped it with a little more dirt.

“When it rained, up they came,” she said.

“When the marigolds started to grow with the butterbeans, I thought, ‘Uh-huh, uh-huh, look at them grow.’”

But there may be another secret to Mulvihill’s miracle-growing marigolds.

“I talk to them,” she said. “I sing nursery rhymes to them like they’re children.”

Though she’s willing to take another monster crop of marigolds next year, Mulvihill said it’s not a prerogative.

“I just love working in the yard and playing in the dirt,” she said.