These are two of my very favorite flowers, marigolds and calendula (or pot marigold...because they grow so well in pots?) They are very hardy and will grow in almost any soil or weather, they keep their color when dried and I do like the strong scent. But I think I really love them for their fascinating seeds and the fun of saving them every year.
Aren't the seeds an interesting shape and texture? I always imagined they were tiny paintbrushes.
It is very important to save seeds and preserve the varieties we have. When I was a little girl I planted Hawaiian Marigolds for a few years, one year I didn't get around to saving the seeds and I have never been able to find them since. The plants grew three feet tall and the flowers heads were quite large. If you ever see this variety please let me know!!
When you are gathering seeds make sure the flower heads are completely brown and dry. If they are still green the seeds aren't done growing and you might not have any flowers the next year. Then very gently break the seeds off the head, or like with marigolds just pull them out of their case. They come pre-packaged!
Check out these links:
http://howtosaveseeds.com/toc-handbook.php Read up more about saving seeds and get some tips.
http://www.seedsavers.org/ A WONDERFUL place to visit online and in person.
http://nativeseeds.org/ They have articles on the importance of seed saving and GMO info.