D IS FOR :
'If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.'
- attributed to Nadine Stair.
I think that the word daisy must have entered my vocabulary at an early age. My father always used to sing when he had his morning shave. Nearly every morning his repertoire included 'Daisy Bell', the chorus of which is still imprinted on my mind :
Give me your answer do!
I'm half crazy,
All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'll look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two !'
Delightful, dainty and dazzling here here are one or two of my favourite daisies starting with erigeron mucronatus (see photo above), which is rather an ugly name for a most pretty little plant. It was previously known as erigeron karvinskianus, which although a mouthful seemed a more attractive name. It hails from Mexico. This plant flowers for months starting here sometimes as early as March, and continues until the first hard frost. Despite its innocent appearance it should come with a government health warning. Margery Fish writes in 'Cottage Garden Flowers' that 'no one minds how many new seedlings appear each year' but I beg to disagree. It will self seed prolifically everywhere, and the seedlings seem to dig their heels in thoroughly at any attempt to extract them. I always chuckle wryly when I see it for sale at exorbitant prices in catalogue and in nurseries.
A daisy that I only purchased last year is Leucanthemum x.superbum Sonnenschein ("Sunshine") but I am sure that it is going to be a favourite. I am not a big fan of bright yellow flowers, but I can be persuaded to grow the paler, softer yellows. I am sure that I am missing out here on some great plants but we all have our foibles. I fell for 'Sonneseschein' on a visit to a beautiful garden last year on a perfect summers day, so just had to buy it when we left via the nursery. I do not have a photo yet but one can be seen along with other desirable daisies at the Special Perennials nursery website here. This Cheshire based nursery are coming to give a talk to our garden club later this year which I am really looking forward to.
Last but not least probably my favourite members of the daisy family - Michaelmas daisies. These are great plants for attracting butterflies flowering around the feast of St.Michael which falls on 29th September :
'The Michaelmas daisy among dead weeds,
Bloom for St.Michael's valorous deeds'
My father was going to be a Michael but arrived a day too late. The photos below were taken late last September when himself and I visited The Picton Garden, Colwall, Malvern in Worcestershire, home to the NCCPG National Collection of Michaelmas daisies. The gardens were ablaze with autumn colour - daisies, other later flowering perennials and some interesting shrubs. There was an adjacent nursery well stocked with Michaelmas daisies, but sadly not the one I had set my heart on by the name of 'Photograph', which I found on asking is very difficult to propagate. I was advised that they may have some in the future. Well there's the perfect excuse for a return visit.
This is my entry for this week's ABC Wednesday. More posts featuring the letter D can be enjoyed here.