Archive for the ‘Mid Height’ Category

Physalis franchetii - Chinese Lanterns - Vancouver, B.C., October 2014. Image: HFN

Physalis franchetii – Chinese Lanterns – Vancouver, B.C., October 2014. Image: HFN

Perennial. Zone 2. Solanaceae. Syn. Physalis franchettii. A.k.a. WINTER CHERRY, BLADDER CHERRY, LOVE-IN-A-CAGE. Mid to Eastern Europe, Mid to Northern Asia, including China. Physalis is from the Greek physa, meaning “bladder, in reference to the inflated calyx which surrounds each solitary berry.

This is one of the most popular plants we sell every year, as people are seduced by the idea of its fascinating autumn display of orange-husked berries. It is a seasonally showy plant with great appeal, but it does have a few negative issues. More on that in a bit.

Physalis alkekengi (formerly known as P. franchetii) is a member of the Nightshade Family, which means it is kin to such plants as tomato, potato, sweet and hot peppers, tobacco, the superbly fragrant but highly toxic datura, the lovely petunia, and a host of other useful and attractive garden plants. It is reported to be the only species native to Europe and Asia; most of the Nightshades originate in the Americas.

Physalis alkekengi flower - highly enlarged - these are small.

Physalis alkekengi flower – highly enlarged – in real life these are quite small. Image: H. Zell

Physalis alkekengi is a vigorous grower, producing widely jointed, brittle, rather lax stems to 2 feet or so tall which are lined with large, heart-shaped, deep green, glossy leaves. Small creamy-white flowers are produced in the leaf axils in midsummer, and these in turn form glossy green berry-like fruit which are enclosed in papery green husks – an adaptation of the calyx leaves which in most plants merely cradle the bases of flowers. These both – the inner fruit and the outer husk – slowly blush from bright green to rich orange, until the stems are lined with brilliant, inflated “lanterns” – leading to the most apt descriptive name.

The lantern in its full autumn glory. Image: H. Zell.

The lantern in its full autumn glory. Image: H. Zell.

Once full colour is achieved, the lanterns may be harvested individually or by the stem (it’s best to strip the leaves) and dried as everlastings. If left in the garden, the orange colour turns to brown and the softer parts of the husk start to rot away, leaving a skeletal framework of veins enclosing a bright orange berry. The berry eventually detaches from the plant, falls to the bottom of the pod, and from there drops to the ground – a fascinating adaptation.

Can you see where the common name Love-in-a-Cage comes from? Perfect!

Can you see where the common name Love-in-a-Cage comes from? Note the point of the husk starting to open up – the fruit will soon be on the ground. Image: Wikimedia

So far, so good. Now for the bad news.

This plant can be VIGOROUS. If planted in rich, loose, evenly-moist soil -“good” garden conditions, in other words – it sends its long white roots out in all directions, heartlessly overrunning less bumptious neighbours.

If over-fertilized, it will go all to foliage, with few flowers (and subsequent lanterns.)

If things get too soggy, the roots will rot.

“Fine,” you think to yourself, “I’ll starve it into cooperation.” But watch out – the plant responds to poor soil by turning yellow and sulking, and, if kept too dry for too long, by dropping all of its leaves and completely collapsing.

It’s also the first plant in the greenhouse to be attacked by spider mites if things get overly hot and dry towards the end of the spring season.

In the garden, it’s late to emerge in the spring, and then, when it does poke up, it’s too often well out of bounds, which requires a concerted effort to bring things under control.

So don’t plant your Chinese Lanterns in the mixed border, unless perhaps it is with other plants with substantial root systems and enough size to outface the Physalis. Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium sp.) springs to mind, or perhaps some of the more vigorous daylily varieties – this might go well with Hemerocallis fulva ‘Europa’, the old-fashioned orange single which can make an impermeable invader-proof clump. Or maybe grow it with Bishop’s Goutwort, Aegopodium podagraria ‘variegata’, and sell tickets to the apocalyptic territorial battle which will then ensue. Well, just kidding on that last one. (Sort of!) The Physalis isn’t that bad, but what I’m trying to get across here is that you do want to keep an eye on it.

Perhaps the best siting technique, and one which I’ve seen used successfully in a number of Cariboo gardens, is to devote a spot exclusively to it, either in a solidly-edged bed by itself or in a circle of removed turf in the lawn. The lawn technique works well, as the thick mat of surrounding sod seems to hamper the Chinese Lanterns’ roving ways, and the level of fertility and moisture which keeps grass happy seems about right to keep the Physalis healthy and in the mood to produce loads of flowers and those subsequent bright orange orbs.

You could also try growing it in a large buried bucket (don’t forget the drain holes) but this requires some attention to ensure that you don’t overwater it, or, conversely, let it get too dry.

For exposure, sun to light shade is fine.

I hope this hasn’t put you off this plant completely – that would never do! It is a unique and interesting thing, and well worth a dedicated space in a quiet corner of the flower garden.

Chinese Lanterns is a decidedly old-fashioned plant, which the Victorians valued greatly for its value as a winter ornamental, and it is enjoying something of a renewed vogue today, for I’ve noticed it the last few years sold in September in its full autumnal glory in decorated pots in the floral departments of local grocery stores

Well before the Victorian era, the plant was used for medicinal purposes, as the fruit was used to treat bladder and kidney complaints. The berries are apparently very rich in Vitamin C, but they are also said to be extremely sour, and not particularly appetizing. We don’t recommend you try to consume this plant in any way without advice from a knowledgeable herbalist, as most parts except the ripe fruits contain potentially toxic components.

Physalis alkekengi - Atlas des Plantes de France - 1891

An illustration from an antique herbal – Physalis alkekengi – Atlas des Plantes de France – 1891

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Penstemon hirsutus - Eastern Penstemon

Penstemon hirsutus – Eastern Penstemon

Perennial. Zone 3. Plantaginaceae, formerly Scrophulariaceae. Syn. Penstemon pubescens. A.k.a. HAIRY BEARD-TONGUE. North America. In Canada, from Ontario eastward. The entire plant – leaves, stems, buds, flowers – is entirely covered by tiny, silky hairs, hence the Latin and common names.

Penstemon hirsutus - detail of buds and flowrs showing tiny, silky hairs.

Penstemon hirsutus – detail of buds and flowers showing tiny, silky hairs.

Penstemon hirsutus is an attractive North American wildflower which is widely grown in gardens. There are numerous forms, including a dwarf type, Penstemon hirsutus ‘pygmaeus’, which is very popular in alpine gardens. Colours may range from pure white through pale lavender to rosy tones – but the most common is the blushed lavender pictured above.

This Penstemon is a quietly  elegant, rather understated plant. The foliage clumps are attractive, being composed of smooth, satin-textured, dark green, lanceolate leaves. Its roots are rhizomatous, and the plant slowly expands from its center. Penstemon hirsutus is completely non-invasive. Mature plants may be carefully divided and replanted in early spring to prolong the plant’s life, as they can get quite woody and die off  in the centers.

Penstemon hirsutus - Eastern Penstemon - in the mixed perennial norder. Image: Vesna Maric

Penstemon hirsutus – Eastern Penstemon – in the mixed perennial border. Image: Vesna Maric

Slender stems arise in early summer, 18 to 30 inches tall. These are lined with loosely arranged whorls of small, pale-purple-flushed-with-darker-highlights, tubular flowers in late June through July. The buds and flowers have a silken sheen which rewards a closer look.

A rather beautiful plant, though not at all what one could call “showy”. I am fond of it, for its ease of growth and self-sufficiency – no need of staking or pruning or any sort of fussing –  and its profuse blooms, always alive with bees. All of the Penstemons are great hummingbird favourites, and this species is no exception.

Penstemon hirsutus is happy in any average garden soil. It is drought tolerant and can be used in xeriscape plantings, but will get larger and bloom more with at least a bit of supplemental moisture in the hottest months of summer. Full sun is best, though it can tolerate part-day light shade. A pleasant front-of-border plant.

Penstemon hirsutus in full bloom stage, mid-summer.

Penstemon hirsutus in full bloom stage, mid-summer.

Penstemon hirsutus coming to the end of its bloom time - Williams Lake, B.C. - July 2014. Image: HFN

A rosy-purple Penstemon hirsutus coming to the end of its bloom time – Williams Lake, B.C. – July 2014. Image: HFN

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Penstemon digitalis - 'Mystica' Penstemon

Penstemon digitalis – ‘Mystica’ Penstemon

Perennial. Zone 4. Scrophulariaceae. Mid-Eastern North America, including Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. A.k.a. FOXGLOVE PENSTEMON.

Some years ago Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker’s Red’ was absolutely everywhere, and being touted as something of a wonder plant – “Long blooming!” “Beautiful foliage!” “Drought tolerant!”  It was the Perennial Plant Association’s “Perennial of the Year” in 1996, which is generally a recommendation of good garden merit, but in this case I do believe the hype was greater than the plant proved to be. I grew it for a few seasons and thought it nice enough in a minor-key way, but when it succumbed to a not-particularly-hard winter, I shrugged and moved on.

‘Mystica’ is the offspring of ‘Husker’s Red’, and has proven to be a generally better plant than its parent. Released in 2008, ‘Mystica’ is not receiving nearly as much promotion as its ancestor, but the word in the gardening world is uniformly positive. I’ve been growing it for four or five seasons now, and I have found it quietly attractive and reliably hardy.

Penstemon digitalis is a showy North American wildflower, widely adapted to various soils and happy in full sun to light shade. It is drought resistant to the point of being included on xeriscape lists, though the nicest specimens are those which receive at least a bit of attention in the way of decent soil and some summer moisture. Both ‘Husker’s Red’ and ‘Mystica’ are selections of the species, developed by choosing the seedlings with desirable traits (dark foliage, showy flowers, long bloom time, hardiness) through successive generations.

‘Mystica’ makes a tidy clump of purple-flushed, silky-smooth foliage. 18 to 24 inch tall bloom stems emerge in early summer, and produce pretty, white-blushed-with-purple rather foxglove-like blooms for 3 to 4 weeks. Once the flowers drop, the glossy purple seed pods provide garden interest. The foliage stays attractive right until first snowfall, responding to cooler autumn temperatures with a reddening of its dusky leaves.

As with all of the Penstemons, hummingbirds love ‘Mystica’, as do numerous types of bees and other insects. It is nice towards the border front, and is tidy enough for the rock garden. In general, a good plant, attractive for three seasons and adaptable in a wide range of conditions.

Penstemon digitalis - 'Mystica' Penstemon

Penstemon digitalis – ‘Mystica’ Penstemon

‘Mystica’ is propagated by seed, so plants are a bit variable as to ultimate height and coloration of foliage. Occasionally a mostly green plant shows up in a batch, but when I kept a few of these instead of rogueing them out, I found them to be perfectly acceptable, blooming away nicely with their showier-foliaged siblings, and adding some contrast to the small colony in my garden.

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Echinops ritro - Blue Globe THistle

Echinops ritro – Blue Globe Thistle

Perennial. Zone 2. Asteraceae, formerly Compositae. East-Central Europe, Asia.  The genus name is from the Greek echinos = “hedgehog-like” (in some references “sea-urchin-like”) – in reference to the spiky structure of the bloom; ritro = “of gardens”.

This is often the first Globe Thistle every gardener starts out with – my original plant is alive and well and giving great pleasure more than twenty years after I received a hefty division of it, overflowing its disintegrating cardboard box, from a fellow-gardener friend. I’d admired her gorgeous dried flower bouquets containing the perfectly round, frosted blue Globe Thistles at an early autumn farmers’ market, and she remembered my interest the following spring.

Though the common name “thistle” might cause the neophyte Echinops grower some initial concern, the prickles on this plant are soft and benign. The lush, dark green, raggedly-cut foliage is tipped with flexible points, but they do not detach, and the plant can be handled easily with bare hands.

Echinops ritro is a clump former, with a height of 2 to 4 feet or so, depending on soil fertility and moisture, and a spread of about half its height.

Echinops ritro - Blue Globe Thistle - flowering stage - note the bee. Image: Kristian Peters

Echinops ritro – Blue Globe Thistle – flowering stage – note the bee. Image: Kristian Peters

Sturdy stems covered by fine white hairs produce perfectly globular buds in mid-summer, and these enlarge and expand and take on an increasingly intense blue tint, until the tiny electric-blue flowers pop open one by one and immediately attract bees, butterflies, and a host of other nectar and pollen seeking visitors. Bloom time of the large golf ball-sized and -shaped flower clusters is extended, easily 6 to 8 weeks or more, and the aging flower heads stay attractive well into fall, when they will be visited by chickadees and other small birds which relish the seeds.

Echinops ritro aging seedhead - still blue, ans still showing its perfectly globular structure - Hill Farm - early October, 2013. Foliage in background is of Plume Poppy, Macleaya cordata. Image: HFN

Echinops ritro – aging seed head – still blue, and still showing its perfectly globular structure – Hill Farm – early October, 2013. Foliage in background is of Plume Poppy, Macleaya cordata. Image: HFN

Echinops ritro is hardy and drought tolerant, but produces the best show in good garden soil with summer moisture. It spreads modestly at the roots, expanding its clump year by year, and it will also self sow in a mild way. Plants are tap rooted, but mature clumps may be divided with care in early spring.

Full sun to light shade is acceptable to this plant. It combines beautifully with the other blue garden thistle, Eryngium planum (Blue Sea Holly), as well as fall-blooming sedums such as Hylotephium x ‘Autumn Joy’, any of the Rudbeckias, and all sorts of ornamental grasses.

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Malva moschata 'rosea' 'Rose Perfection' Musk Mallow - Hill Farm, July 2013. Image: HFN

Malva moschata ‘rosea’ – ‘Rose Perfection’ Musk Mallow – Hill Farm, July 2013. Image: HFN

Perennial. Zone 2. Malvaceae. Europe, North Africa.

When I was recently listing all of the “old faithful” nursery plants we seem to offer year after year after year, the Musk Mallows, pink and white, were at the very top. And I doubt this situation will change, for Malva moschata is one of the easiest perennials there is, though it does have its faults, the main one perhaps being its relatively short life span, which is balanced by its willingness to self sow, which is in turn balanced by the ease with which the seedlings can be recognized and removed from unwanted areas.

Musk Mallow is so named for the scent of the foliage when bruised, moschata meaning “musk-like”, though I must say that I have never particularly noticed much more than a general “green” scent when I have occasion to work with this plant. It was once apparently used quite extensively in perfumery.

From Jo Ann Gardner’s The Heirloom Garden, 1992:

The Musk Mallow was grown in colonial gardens, probably for its ease of culture and lovely flowers, fondly remembered from the Old Country, where it grew wild in abundance. Perhaps it was also valued as a herb. “Whosoever takes a spoonful of Mallows,” proclaimed the first-century Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, “will from that day be cured of all diseases that come to him.” For centuries species in the Mallow Family have been used to soothe inflammations and a variety of complaints. All parts of the Musk Mallow contain a mucilaginous sap suggestive of soothing. The genus name, Malva, comes from the Greek malakos, meaning “softening.”

Unlike other useful plants that were abandoned once they were no longer valued for their healing properties, the Musk Mallow was a favourite ornamental throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The elegant white form, ‘Alba’, (was) appreciated in the flower border for (its) beautiful and plentiful shimmering blossoms and accommodating habit.

Malva moschata 'rosea' - Musk Mallow 'Appleblossom' - Hill Farm, July 2011. Image: HFN

Malva moschata ‘rosea’ – Musk Mallow ‘Appleblossom’ – Hill Farm, July 2011. Image: HFN

The pink-flowered Musk Mallow, Malva moschata ‘rosea’, is a vigorous plant, making handsome, multi-branching clumps to 4 feet tall and 2 or 3 feet wide. Foliage is bright green, and deeply cut in rounded lobes. Clusters of buds appear in the leaf axils in June, and quickly open into silky-textured, saucer-shaped blooms with prominent bosses of pale yellow stamens. There are different degrees of mauve-tinted “pinkness”, from the pale cultivar ‘Appleblossom’ to the darker ‘Rose Perfection’.

The white-flowered Malva moschata ‘alba’ is a slightly smaller plant, reaching 2 to 3 feet in height. The blooms are white with delicate pink veining, and a blush of pink in the center. ‘White Perfection’ is the cultivar most commonly found.

Malva moschata 'alba' - Musk Mallow 'White Prefection'

Malva moschata ‘alba’ – Musk Mallow ‘White Perfection’

The basal stems of Musk Mallow can get quite woody by autumn, and mature plants are rather shrub-like in effect. They bloom and bloom and bloom, with new flowers appearing along with the clusters of papery seed pods. If Musk Mallow gets out of hand and starts to lean a bit too heavily on its border neighbours, it can be shorn quite severely in midsummer, and will then cheerfully respond to this rather brutal ‘housekeeping’ by putting out fresh growth and a whole new crop of flowers. It will still be in bloom up to the final hard frost which ushers in winter.

New York gardener Louise Beebe Wilder, one of my very favourite botanical writers, published a book in 1935 entitled What Happens in My Garden, in which she has kind words for the Musk Mallows.

While the Hollyhock is undoubtedly queen of its tribe, some of its cousins are of passing charm. My favorite is the Musk Mallow, and the white Musk Mallow for choice, Malva moschata. They grow about two feet tall, bloom prodigally through July and August and sometimes into September, and the wide flaring blossoms borne in quick succession at the ends of the branches have a fine satin finish that is very attractive. The leaves are cut and cut again, and the plant has a nice bushy, space-filling habit. It was Miss Jekyll who suggested the cool and charming association of white Musk Mallows and steel-blue Eryngiums, one of the most pleasing of summer companionships. And I have found both the pink and white kinds delightful…(T)hese plants are friendly and blossomy when these attributes are most wanted.

Musk Mallow is wonderfully appealing to bees and other pollinators. It also makes a good cut flower. In general, an easy and appealing old-fashioned flower, happy to play a long-blooming supporting role in the perennial border.

Malva moschata 'rosea' - 'Rose Perfection' Musk Mallow

Malva moschata ‘rosea’ – ‘Rose Perfection’ Musk Mallow


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Myrrhis odorata - Sweet Cicely - Hill Farm - June 2013. Image: HFN

Myrrhis odorata – Sweet Cicely – Hill Farm – June 2013. Image: HFN

Perennial. Zone 3. Apiaceae syn. Umbelliferae. Central Europe, the Pyrenees and the Caucasus. Widely naturalized in Europe and Great Britain. Myrrhis is from the Greek, in reference to the similarity of this plant’s aroma to that of the sap of the tropical myrrh tree (Commiphora species), much valued for perfumery. (The true myrrh was traditionally one of the costly gifts presented to the Baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men.) Odorata is from the Latin, “scented”.

I have never seen this lovely herb for sale in commercial nurseries in our area, which is why I was so thrilled to find it in a small roadside nursery near Bella Coola way back in 1998. I tucked it into a corner of the flower border, where it has maintained itself ever since, forming quite a vigorous colony of ferny, liquorice-scented foliage accented by lacy umbels of pure white blooms in spring.

The lacy flowers of Sweet Cicely are highly attractive to pollinating insects of all sorts. Hill Farm, May 2013. Image: HFN

The delicate flowers of Sweet Cicely are highly attractive to pollinating insects of all sorts. Hill Farm, May 2013. Image: HFN

I’ve transplanted seedlings – very carefully, for Myrrhis odorata has a long, brittle tap root – into various shady spots, where it happily settles in and adds its delicate leafiness to the general green tapestry effect. The blooms are followed by upright clusters of huge, light green seeds, which slowly darken to glossy black.

Sweet Cicely seed cluster - Hill Farm, May 2014. Image: HFN

Sweet Cicely seed cluster – Hill Farm, May 2014. Image: HFN

Where happy the plant reaches a substantial size, easily 2 feet or taller, and eventually several feet wide as the foliage expands through spring into early summer. Once blooming is finished, the plant may be shorn back to the ground, where it will re-sprout with renewed vigour and provide a pleasant backdrop for later-blooming flowers.

The texture of the foliage is delicately downy – it feels as soft as it looks. I have occasionally added it to cut flower bouquets for its ferny effect, but it isn’t really happy once cut, so I now mostly enjoy it in the garden.

Sweet Cicely has a long history of use as an herb, being strongly anise (licorice-like) scented in all of its parts, and having a very sweet flavour. It is one of the benign “innocent herbs” – edible in all of its parts, and free of potentially harmful components.

Myrrhis odorata will thrive in the sunny mixed perennial border, as it enjoys fertile soil and summer moisture. It can also be placed in quite deep shade, and, if encouraged to self-sow, will spread to fill in the area under high-pruned shrubs and trees.

I have not found Sweet Cicely to be particularly weedy – seedlings are easy to identify and easily plucked out – but it is a persistent plant once established (that taproot goes a long way down), so consider its siting carefully. Mature plants do not move well, so container grown starts and young seedlings are your best bet for bringing it into your own garden or for spreading it around.

Myrrhis odorata - Sweet Cicely - Hill Farm - June 2014. Image: HFN

Myrrhis odorata – Sweet Cicely – Hill Farm – June 2014. Image: HFN

Maud Grieve’s massive reference book, A Modern Herbal, first published in 1931, has these notes on Myrrhis odorata:

It is a native of Great Britain, a perennial with a thick root and very aromatic foliage, on account of which it was used in former days as a salad herb, or boiled, when the root, leaves, and seed were all used. The leaves are very large, somewhat downy beneath, and have a flavour rather like Anise, with a scent like Lovage. The first shoots consist of an almost triangular, lacey leaf, with a simple wing curving up from each side of its root. The stem grows from 2 to 3 feet high, bearing many leaves, and white flowers in early summer appear in compound umbels. In appearance it is rather like Hemlock, but is of a fresher green colour. The fruit is remarkably large, an inch long, dark brown, and fully flavoured. The leaves taste as if sugar had been sprinkled over them.

It is probable that it is not truly a wild plant, as it is usually found near houses, where it may very probably be cultivated in the garden. Sweet Cicely is very attractive to bees; in the north of England it is said that the seeds are used to polish and scent oak floors and furniture. In Germany they are still very generally used in cookery. The old herbalists describe the plant as ‘so harmless you cannot use it amiss.’ The roots were supposed to be not only excellent in a salad, but when boiled and eaten with oil and vinegar, to be ‘very good for old people that are dull and without courage; it rejoiceth and comforteth the heart and increaseth their lust and strength.’

Myrrhis odorata old herbal illustration

An illustration of Myrrhis odorata in an antique German herbal.


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Leucanthemum x superbum - Shasta Daisy - Williams Lake, B.C. - July 2013. Image: HFN

Leucanthemum x superbum – Shasta Daisy – Williams Lake, B.C. – July 2014. Image: HFN

Zone 4. Asteraceae syn. Compositae. Syn. Chrysanthemum maximum. Origin: United States, a garden hybrid developed from four European and Asian species.

The very well known, large and showy Shasta daisies – named after the gleaming snows of California’s beautiful Mount Shasta – were hybridized from four related species by the innovative American plant breeder Luther Burbank. The process took seventeen years. Shasta daisies were first offered for sale in 1901, and have been hugely popular with gardeners ever since.

Shasta Daisies at hybridizer Luther Burbank's home in California, now a historic site. Image:

Shasta Daisies at hybridizer Luther Burbank’s home in California, now a historic site. Image: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

Here are some details of the creation process from the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens website:

How Luther Burbank Made the Shasta Daisy

Luther Burbank had a great fondness for the wild oxeye daisies that grew under the elm tree in front of his family home. Many years later, the young plant-breeder was inspired to develop these wildflowers for use as garden flowers, and envisioned an ideal daisy: it would have very large pure-white flowers, a long blooming period, and do well both as a cut flower and garden plant. In order to achieve his goals he used four different plants.

He started with the oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and cross-pollinated it with the English field daisy (Leucanthemum maximum) which had larger flowers than the oxeye daisy. The best of these hybrids were then dusted with pollen from the Portuguese field daisy (Leucanthemum lacustre) and their seedlings were bred selectively for six years.

These bloomed nicely, but Burbank wasn’t satisfied yet. He wanted whiter, brighter flowers. He took the most promising of these triple hybrids and pollinated them with the Japanese field daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum), a species with small, pure-white flowers. Finally, he got the beautiful large white daisy that he was hoping for.

Shasta Daisies at the home of their originator in California. Image: Luther Burbank Home & Garden

Shasta Daisies at the home of their originator in California. Image: Luther Burbank Home & Garden

There are a large number of Shasta daisy cultivars now available, with more being offered every year. Tall, dwarf, double flowered, curly-petalled – even some now appearing in cream and pale yellow. Common to all are lush, dark green foliage, sturdy stems, and large flowers with bright yellow eyes. Dwarf cultivars start at 12 inches or so in height, with the tallest strains reaching 3 feet or more. All have an extremely long season of bloom, from late spring right through autumn.

I have grown Shasta daisy cultivars for many years, and have personally found them something of a challenge in our particular micro-climate. Perhaps it is the unreliable snow cover out here along the Fraser River, but winter hardiness is an issue some years. This said, I do frequently see thriving specimens in other gardens in the region.

Shasta daisies thrive best in full sun, in good garden soil which doesn’t get too dry in summer. They will often bloom the first year, but improve in performance and appearance in subsequent seasons.

A handsome clump of Shasta daisies in a sunny front yard garden, Williams Lake, B.C., July 2014. Image: HFN

A handsome clump of Shasta daisies in a sunny front yard garden, Williams Lake, B.C., July 2014. Image: HFN





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