Monday, March 17, 2008

Daisies As Fillers & Extenders

Monday, March 17, 2008

A beautiful morning here at Vermont Flower Farm until you go outside. The sun is bright but when the wind makes snow flow horizontally, one has to wonder about being outside. Gail and Karl the wonder dog just returned from an abbreviated morning walk and I could hear Gail's repeated "Boy is it cold out there...." before the inside door even opened. 12 degrees and windy will do that for a morning.

I wrote last about gloriosa daisies but all daisies are nice. Places that sell those cans of wildflower seed mixes that disappoint people often make huge (what's bigger than huge? millions?) annual sales based upon the colors on the labels. Everyone has a portion of their landscape that can benefit from swaths of color and all the daisies do that work nicely.

I mentioned 'Mahogany' the other day as it's one I try to keep going by reseeding each fall. It's always a problem because people want it and I've never had the time to produce any for sale. I always tell customers to return in the fall and help themselves to seed but that isn't appealing in today's "Want-It-Now" world. 'Goldsturm' is another example of a good grower. (pictured below) Some equate it to just-another-orange daylily type thinking but I don't agree. When you're looking for mid-July until frost flowering plants, these are the ones to include in the plan.

About three years ago Gail ordered some plugs of Rudbeckia 'fulgida'. We were busy and they didn't get planted and they didn't get planted and finally I asked Michelle to mix them in the display gardens. The following year I had no idea where they were and the second year they started to show nicely. This past year they were in abundance and I could see how well they reproduced. This is a smaller flower than 'Goldsturm" but there are lots of flowers and the seeds disperse nicely. In a pasture setting or on a perimeter away from the house they are excellent.

As you scout the seed catalogs you are likely to find new varieties every year. It's not that they are necessarily "new" but just plants that companies put on the market to provide new choices to familiar products. Rudbeckia 'nitida' is an example. I have no idea where Gail bought the few that we have, probably at one of the area greenhouses in Cabot, but these are nice. They're planted outside my office window and they really are special. I like tall flowers and these are eye catchers at about 38-42" tall. It's always dry there and that's the perfect setting.

As you plan your gardens with the time left between now and leaf raking- garden prep time, give all the daisies a chance. The original plants probably will not last much beyond three years but once established they will continue to produce seedlings and nice flowers for some time to come.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where trout fisherman have ended their winter season but three feet of ice holds tight to the surrounding shore. If you enjoy brown trout, try those waters in later April when the ice breaks up.

George Africa
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Daisy said...

my favorite line... "but all daises are nice."

Connie said...

I never met a rudbeckia I didn't like. :-) I am starting several new varieties this year from winter sown seed.