Shasta Daisies and Ox-eye daisies
The memories of the tall Shasta daisies in my grandmother’s and mother’s gardens created in me, a desire to grow some of my own. My mother would cut some and put them in a vase of colored water. Slowly the dye would creep up the hollow stems. Fun for us kids! Then, with a garden of my own, I saw a tall variety, ‘Alaska’, probably, at a specialty nursery in Westminster and decided that would be the kind I’d grow.
I never had much luck with them when I live in the suburbs, funnily enough, where they’d be perfect for the cottagey garden. Now, in a colder climate, they do very well although they do seem to need a lot of water, or else they sulk.
They also get little bugs that eat the centers away. They bloom reliably in July and if we’re home, they put on a nice show for about two weeks tops, soon after wilting and bowing down descending into scraggleyness.
I have had to deadhead them twice, once right after bloom and then again all the way to the new growth in late Fall. They d multiply readily and are pretty easy to pull out, but now I change my mind…
Today as I sit in the damp, cutting, cutting, I have decided that they do not belong here in the Sierras anymore, no matter how sweet my memories of daises in the family gardens. They’ve crowded out my Black-eyed Susans, (which crowded out the Western wildflower mix). They’ve pushed around the Verbena bonarensis, too, and infringed on the helicrysum. Slowly I will pull them out, refuse them water, strict and mean I am, I guess.
Although they’re not native, I much prefer the little Ox-eye daisies with foliage that hugs the ground and tall stems with small quarter-sized flowers. They grow like wildflowers, popping up here and there, well behaved, only needing one chop and looking meadowy as they wave in the wind.
Aside to whomever– Darn, stickers in the seat of my jeans.