Summer is at its height and one would have thought that there would be an abundance of flowers to choose from for our weekly vase, but actually it is only the bedding plants that are really brightening up the garden at the moment. I could bring in some of them to adorn the house but very few of them are candidates for a vase, as most of them barely reach a height of 30cm. Their claim to fame is mainly for mass display and not as an individual flower, they are therefore better of displayed in a foam oasis which I hope to write about when tall flowers are even more scarce. For the next few weeks I can still find a few flowers with character that can be displayed in a vase on their own. This week we will choose a very regular flower from the daisy family.
Botanical Name: Leucanthemum x Superbum. Common Name: Shasta Daisy.
The original botanical name was chrysanthemum maximum but it has been changed over the years to Leucanthemum; a separate species. The flowers do have similarities to chrysanthemums but the leaves fail to have the classic chrysanthemum scent.
There are many daisy like flowers but this one is one of the most robust. It will grow anywhere and guarantee a good display of white flowers with the characteristic yellow centre from late May. With a quick dead head, further flushes will follow in close succession and you will be enjoying flowers until autumn.
It is a pity that every one else has them, but that should not stop you from growing this functional flower for the back of the border. If you would like to be a bit more creative try the double variety ‘Wirral Supreme’, the double flower heads have anemone like centres. A new variety that I recently stumbled on is ‘Banana Cream’, the florets are not white but a lemon colour, it is interesting how a slight variation in colour can cause a plant to look so different from the original. (I also found it in J. Parkers new Autumn Catalogue page 11 for just over £2 each.) Most varieties grow to around 80 cm. but there is a low growing variety ‘Rubellum’ which flowers later from August until the autumn and only grows to around 40 cm.
Buying and planting guide.
Although the best planting time is during the autumn and spring, the plant can be bought as a potted plant at any time of the year from garden centres. I noticed a few small pants in a garden centre last week with a complete new flush of flowers – they must have been specially grown for late summer display.
In late autumn cut off the foliage as it otherwise just stays in situ and does not enhance your winter garden. As the bushes multiply in size they need dividing every 3 years. If you are satisfied with an ordinary variety – go round your block now (or even better – next spring), and offer to tidy up a friends bush – leaving you with the reward of a free plant!
Seasonal quick colour:
With the close arrival of the autumn months, dome chrysanthemum’s begin to arrive in the shops. The photo is from a display at Notcuttt’s Garden Centre, they look well grown and should stay in flower, at least for the next 6 weeks. One on either side of your doorway shows that you appreciate a good flower display at all times of the year! Although they usually go down in price later in the month, they are charging £6.99 which is a good price for these plants at the beginning of September.