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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

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Friday
Jan072011

Is There a Broadway Musical Growing in the Daisy Garden? I Hope So!

Wild Daisies, courtesy of http://wallpaperforiphone.com/nature/wild-daisies/I have a love-hate relationship with daisies. I saw too many of them while growing up and now I am reluctant to use them in my garden. Yet, plant them I must because my wife loves daisies. My dislike is influenced by a recurring childhood experience. Each summer my parents would rent a summer cabin in the Laurentian Mountains, north of Montreal, where surrounding meadows would be abloom with wild daisies. That is the only flower that I remember seeing, when we arrived. It would not be until later in the summer when insipid, wild Asclepias, and equally ugly wild Eupatorium would begin to bloom in roadside ditches.

Shasta Daisies, courtesy of http://www.mauways.co.nz/product_info.php?products_id=406&osCsid=ifvnmuqkimc70n1aa7taf9svo6Today, I grow one Shasta daisy plant only for my wife. I have been unable to use it in garden compositions partly because I still find it tiresome to look at and partly because it is messy. Not only do daisy plants self seed but, mid way into their growing season, they begin to flop. Staking is not realistic; by the time they need attention, I am too busy with other projects.

Leucanthemum x superbum "Broadway Lights", image courtesy of http://www.mijntuin.org/plants/158-MargrietRecently, I stumbled upon a site that highlighted a new variety of daisy. Its selling features are that its stems grow erect from a mound and that it produces various shades of yellow, cream and white flowers on the same plant, at the same time. Its additional claim to fame is that it will bloom all summer, but that will only occur in warmer climates. In USDA Zone 4, aka Canadian Zone 5, where I garden, it will only bloom in July and August.

I have been inspired to experiment with it because when fellow blogger, Freda Cameron, at Defining Your Home, Garden, and Travel, honored several perennials with a “Best Performance” award for 2010, she also gave Leucanthemum x superbum “Broadway Light” an award for Best Make Up. With such qualifications, this variety of daisy deserves a chance to show its stuff in my garden. I will use mulch to prevent self seeding, even though the grower suggests that dead heading will be just as effective. But who has time to dead head at the height of the gardening season, any way?

Two aspects about this plant that I cannot ignore are 1] it requires good drainage and 2] in Zone 4, aka Canadian Zone 3, it will not survive without layers of snow as winter protection. Otherwise, it is an easy care perennial. Some nurseries recommend using it in containers as a thriller, in the center or back of a pot. However, that only makes sense for gardeners living in warmer climates, where this daisy blooms all season.

Leucanthemum x superbum "Broadway Lights", image courtesy of WhiteFlowerFarm.comThere was a lot of fanfare when this variety was first introduced. Proven Winners’ publicity for this plant was as dramatic the variety's name:-

A big show off. That’s me. I put on a performance that lasts from summer through fall without a single intermission. For my opening act, I rapidly grow 18-24 inches tall and form a tight mound of upright stems. Next, an entire troupe of flower buds appears as if by magic. One by one they gradually open to reveal a circle of pale butter yellow petals, inside of which is a big, bright golden center. Like in one of those old movie musicals. Then, in the light of full sun to part shade, my petals gradually begin to change colors. Butter yellow turns vanilla, and for the finale, the petals turn pure, glowing white. The timing is different for every flower. Instead of a boring, single color Shasta daisy production, Broadway Lights is a three-act hit.

If my garden is a stage, then this plant should be a Broadway musical. I hope that it will live up to its hype.

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Reader Comments (11)

I love this plant -- the pale yellow color is absolutely amazing, in my opinion. Here in zone 5 Michigan, I only sometimes get a second round of blooms, depending on how promptly I deadhead, and what sort of a summer we have. Still -- the only daisy in my garden, and one of my favorite perennials.

January 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Tychonievich

Hi Allan, last season was the second time I decided to try Broadway Lights. The last time, a few years ago, they did not come back. This year will tell the story of whether or not it is a true zone 5 plant. Home Depot had tons of them this year, so I couldn't resist another try.

I have better luck with Becky and it never flops, but it is a much taller Shasta about three feet and last summer with all of heat and rain, my Becky's got to almost four feet. They are very hardy and come back every year.

Eileen

January 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

Thanks for the inspiration, Eileen,
A sturdy stem is such an important feature that I've just added " Becky" to my plant list for spring.

January 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterAllan

Allan, I think there is nothing more beautiful than a swath of wild daisies---in someone else's garden. They are beautiful, but have you ever noticed they have a disagreeable fragrance? I have tried the much-recommended 'Sheffield Pink' twice and they haven't come back. I hope you are successful. Carolyn

I bought a couple of these this year. I particularly like the way there are different shades of yellow as the flowers mature. I am waiting to see how they come through the recent cold winter we are having but at the moment the plants look fairly healthy. Hope yours does well

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

I had a nice clump of daisies the summer before last, but they disappeared the following winter. I have not rushed to the nursery looking to replace them. I tend to agree with Carolyn that they do not have a nice fragrance and I found that they looked rather scruffy once the flowers started to fade. I will be curious to hear your appraisal of this newer variety.

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Ok--if Freda says so---then it's true. She lives about 2 hours from me--aren't you jealous? I have daisies and love them---it's the cottage thing. I can't call my gardens cottage without them.

I think the Laurentian Mountains must have been a great adventure for a little boy. It sounds like it would.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Flowergardengirl

Hello Allan,

The Shasta daisy does quite well in the Pacific northwest. In fact I too have a love-hate relationship with it. It is drought tolerant here and if you grow one you will have many, so I have yanked it from the garden, but it still comes back. :)

The Leucanthemum x superbum “Broadway Light” is quite lovely and one I should likely try to find. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Anna, yes I am jealous. You don't have to worry about insulating the Daisy from cold winters.

Spending summers in the Laurentian Mountains was idyllic for a little boy. That is where I learned how to swim and dive, fish, ride a bike, and hike over meadows and through forests. That is also where I became an expert in picking wild blueberries in August.

January 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterAllan

I haven't been too pleased with daisies in my own garden; some have perished in the humid heat and others look messy, as you said. Perhaps 'Broadway Lights' is worth a try. Nevertheless, a meadow of wild daisies? That sounds wonderful to me!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdebsgarden

-Rolex Perpetual watches in uk It would not be until later in the summer when insipid, wild Asclepias, and equally ugly wild Eupatorium would begin to bloom in roadside ditches.

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