Calendula: You Can Grow That!
Plant it in full sun and in well-draining, loamy soil. I only water it if we have not had a decent rain in weeks. Deadhead them frequently to encourage continual blooming. (I find them to be a long-lasting cut-flower.) You should also occasionally weed around them and pull out new seedlings to pot them up and pass them on to other gardeners.
It was named Herb of the Year in 2008 as it is edible and beneficial. Snip off the colorful ends of the flower petals to add a pretty accent to any salad or as a decoration on baked goods. It has a very light taste -- like a spicy pale honey. The dried petals can be used to color broths, cheeses, and butter. They are a thrifty substitute for the very expensive saffron.
Calendula tends to sulk in the summer heat of the Mid-Atlantic, but that is just a pause in its robust routine. In my garden plot, I cannot recall any month of the year that it doesn't have a few blooms opening up. This is a tremendous workhorse that belongs in every edible and cutting garden.
All who are involved with You Can Grow That! (YCGT!) believe that plants and gardening enhance our quality of life. We want people to be successful with what they grow and to become more aware of the many gifts that horticulture brings. Find out more at http://www.youcangrowthat.com/.