The “marigold effect” refers to the practice of companion planting. Gardeners intentionally plant certain plants together to protect and nurture their growth.

Marigold plants are one of the best companion plants because they repel bugs and fungal diseases. By planting a marigold next to your vegetable plants, they will grow bigger and be protected by the marigold’s properties.

On the contrary, when some plants are planted alongside of others, they negatively impact the growth of the plants that surround them. For example, when a walnut tree is planted alongside another plant, it absorbs the nutrients from the given plant so the walnut tree can produce more walnuts and grow healthier and stronger.

With this basic information, you can understand the basics of companion planting. If you would like additional recommendations for planting a successful garden, I can refer you to my mother-in-law, who is an expert in this area. My job here is to utilize this information to generate a metaphor to develop clarity for developing nurturing relationships for growth and well-being.

As you can now imagine, marigolds can metaphorically represent the kind of human we hope to be around: those that support, nurture and strengthen us. We can do our best to choose “marigolds” as friends or co-workers, but sometimes we end up in a “walnut tree” partnership. These partnerships can become overwhelming and drain our best energy.

Now, when you find a ‘marigold friend,’ you develop a nurturing partnership. You are able to receive and provide the right amount of ‘nutrients’ to grow together as well as develop capacity independently. This is the Marigold Effect.

As you are planted alongside another, choose to be a Marigold, so you can have an enriching effect on the shared environment. If you find yourself “planted” nearby a walnut-tree, feel free to revisit your harvest and where you’re planted. If ‘environmental change’ is not an option, boundaries in ‘nutrient’ sharing can be a helpful option for mutual growth.

I truly don’t believe that walnut tree friends intend to toxify the relationships, they just don’t know how to seek nourishment in a healthy way. And for that reason, I do not believe we should abandon our walnut trees, but to choose how and when we interact with them.

As educators, we exist in a world filled with marigolds and walnut trees, where unity is crucial. As we co-exist, its essential for us to not just share nutrients but also embracing the nutrients provided to us for growth.

Through mindful and respectful synergy, we can inspire, enrich and nurture a strong team and rich harvest.

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