Lizabeth and her friends are pictured as very childish in the beginning of the story. They all hate the marigolds because of how "out of place" they look. So, they throw rocks at the marigolds to taunt Miss Lottie.
One night, in the middle of the story, Lizabeth overhears her parents arguing and her dad crying about how little they have. Out of anger and rage, she runs to Miss Lottie's yard and tears up her marigolds.
At the end of the story, Lizabeth is now an adult, and realizes and regrets her mistake that she made many years ago. She says that she has also planted marigolds.