Thursday, 11 August 2011

Asteraceae and friends

I have long been a fan of daisies and daisy like flowers.
 I brought a sprig of ox-eye daisy from a previous garden.  It now romps around with gay abandon through the conservatory border.  I thin it regularly and have transplanted a spring to the pond edge in the hope it will romp around there too.  It is sort of a nuisance in that it is so thuggish, and yet it is so pretty.  It dances in the breeze and the seedlings are easy to spot to remove.  I need to cut it back at the moment, it is looking scruffy from its first flush of flowering, but I like its simplicity.
Then there is the Erigeron karvinskianus, the Mexican Daisy; beloved of Gertrude Jekyll and the Arts and Crafts garden movement.  I am trying to convince mine to self seed around, to get into the nooks and crannies and soften the delightful crazy paving that surrounds my house (in terms of crazy paving, delightful is code for grey concrete).  

The Shasta Daisy, this one is Leucanthemum x superbum 'Phylllis Smith', I love the shagginess and messiness of this flower.  It still has the simplicity of a daisy, it has not wandered quite in the double flower world.  It also nods nicely and pulls itself through other plants in a very pleasant way.  It is a good strong plant but does not thicken up very quickly.  I wish I had more, but they tend to be expensive and so far I buy one a year usually from Tatton Flower Show.
Echinacea 'Purpura' is another favourite.  It has the simple daisy look.  The colour is superb and they are as tough as old boots.  Another perk is that bees love them.  Though last year I seemed to find a lot of dead bees hanging underneath the flowers.  This was really strange and disconcerting and if anyone can explain it to me I would be grateful (unless it is a less-spotted bee monster in which case I would probably rather not know).
 
Cosmos 'Purity', not a daisy but has the simple daisy look.  I know that I like this shape of flowers as it looks like a flower a child would draw.  When children this is what we think flowers look like.  With my level of art skills it is still about all I can draw so maybe that embeds the affinity. 
Even in dahlias I like the single flowered, open, look.  I think this one is 'Waltzing Matilda'.  It is meant to be 'Dark Desire' but was sent to me in error, the sort of error you only realise when it flowers.  I know other gardeners have had exactly the same happen to them this year, is is a conspiracy I wonder?
 
Now we are entering Aster time.  This is a recent addition to my garden, I had always avoided asters before.  I think I associated them badly with my parents' garden from the 1960s.  This one is so vivid, such an amazing colour and it has bushed up really well this year.  Now I need to start propagating from it if I can, I want more!

A bonus of this simple type of flower is that in general bees and insects love them.  They can find their way in easily and  they are less likely to be sterile than the double-flowered versions.  I do also grow blousey flowers, but the simple ones tend to be my favourites.  Had my son been a girl he would have been called Daisy.  This would have meant that my two children would have been called Rose and Daisy, the two old ladies from Pigeon Street, lucky lucky escape for them both.














5 comments :

  1. The shasta daisy is my favourite.

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  2. Yes it is a beauty isnt it - thanks

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  3. I love daisy flowers too - thinking I need Erigeron for my front garden. I am liking Asters more and more and planning to get some more for the bank

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  4. Yes I suppose the daisy is such a success beacuse of the design, open-ness and colour combo. I think too there's childhood daisy chain stuff going on too!
    'Shastas and asters' would be a good daisy posts title! I love them both.
    Thanks for this post.
    Best
    R

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  5. I too love daisy type flowers. They are the most bee friendly too as they are easy to access.

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