Gardening where the sidewalk ends

On the Proper Use of Daisies July 19, 2010

Filed under: flora,summer — greenwalks @ 9:52 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

A parking strip garden in the Meadowbrook neighborhood of Seattle showed off some great possibilities for that somewhat prosaic and often weedy member of the plant kingdom, the daisy.

I have these in my own garden, in clumps and singles, mostly I think as a self-sower that came over from the neighbors’ to the north. (After having mis-named them twice, I now think they are the Shasta daisy hybridized by Luther Burbank – see what you think, more info here.) I like them okay but they would probably be better if I paired them intelligently with other plants, as this gardener has.

Picking up the daisy center with the bright lemon flowers and bronze foliage of Lysimachia ciliata ‘Firecracker’? Brilliant.

Daisies and Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker' (?)

(I am guessing on that plant ID – it is a form of loosestrife so I would need to do more research before planting it myself, as that name sends chills down my spine, invasive-weed-wise. Anyone know if this one is safe?)

Letting them snake in a line through iris foliage and hot pink lychnis? Genius.

English daisy 'snake'

But my favorite – achieving the ultimate country-in-the-city look of a tall meadow while simultaneously covering up the mailbox post: divine!

Mailboxes and daisies

(Thanks to Grace for pointing out my inept plant ID, which I have since changed! Grace knows all!)



17 Responses to “On the Proper Use of Daisies”

  1. Grace Says:

    Hi Karen, The Lysmachia ciliata ‘Firecracker’ is a runner for sure. A hell strip is the perfect setting to keep it in bounds, however in my experience, like all Lysmachias it really likes water.

    The daisy however, if you don’t mind my correction, is not Bellis perennis but the common roadside, Oxeye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare. Bellis perennis is that tiny little daisy that likes to live in lawns.

    Despite my annoying know-it-all-ness the combination is indisputably delightful. I bet the honeybees just go nuts.

  2. Laura Says:

    I love it! It makes it feel so expansive. I like when plants grow where they seed!

  3. I just finished weeding our fence-line, and must have pulled out about a million daisies. Did leave a few, because, as you have observed, they play so well with others. Out here in the dingleberry weeds, they would like to fill in every available blank spot (if the sorrell doesn’t get there first). Lysimachia seems tame by comparison.

    Note to Grace: if all “know-it-all”s dispensed knowledge with such – um – grace, we would all be better off.

  4. Lisa Says:


    We recently visited Luther Burbank’s experimental farm. He did a lot of work with daisies, developing (among others) the Shasta daisy.

  5. Who knew there really was a proper use for daisies, you called that one! And I love your ultimate country-in-the-city comment…so true.

  6. easygardener Says:

    They look lovely – the last picture is a delight! Looks like a country meadow.

  7. Racquel Says:

    What a gorgeous combination of plants, someone really has an eye for placing things or it was a happy accident. 🙂

  8. Benjamin Says:

    Yup, Fiecracker is a runner, but pluck out the runers in early spring (super easy to do) and it’s contained. It’s thriving in my damp clay, part sun under a river birch. It’s not so bad, try it.

  9. Catherine Says:

    What a really pretty combination. I love how it looks like the mailboxes are in a meadow. I dug up all my daisies and gave them away, now I miss them and want to replace them.

  10. Megan Says:

    I’m surprised to say I’m a big fan of this daisy/lysimachia combination. I never would have thought of it myself, but it’s quite striking. This is why I’m learning to never say never when it comes to certain types of plants. Eventually you see them used in a way that wins you over.

  11. Jordan Says:

    It’s nice to see that you are posting again. I was at the Bellevue Botanical Garden this past week. The border is really starting to look like something. Those look like Shasta Daisies (Chrysanthemum maximum) to me. I stopped using them when they completely took over a client’s garden. Lysimachia scares me, too.

  12. Molly Says:

    The common name “loosestrife” shouldn’t really strike fear in your heart. I can’t speak for lysimachia ciliata but lysimachia vulgaris is invasive. OTOH lysimachia punctata is not and it’s played well with others, including Shasta daisies, in my border for years. The dreaded purple loosestrife isn’t a lysimachia at all, it’s Lythrum salicaria.

  13. Jen Says:

    Love the mailbox combo!! The loosestrife is just now coming into bloom here everywhere. Along with liatris – I always confuse the two because they look alike! I tried an experiment with my Shasta daisies this year. They were looking too leggy so I cut them back, hoping for more shoots. Didn’t happen. Now I only have about 3 shasta daisies – won’t do that again!

  14. The mailbox shot is beautiful. I haven’t had shasta daisies in my garden for years. I have forgotten how good they can look. Nice companions too.

  15. Aerie-el Says:

    Such happy vistas! I like the picture of the ‘spiky’ foliage with the daisies and rose campion. Nice.

  16. Kristi Says:

    They are so pretty and cheerful. I have hard time keeping my daisies alive from year to year.

  17. Betty Says:

    Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! It gives me hope that soon I’ll see some blooms in our neck of the woods. The way you combine different flowers and colors together is great, I think you have a nack. Betty

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