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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.

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Entries in "Broadwat Lights (1)

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.