Friday, 10 December 2010

Daisy to the rescue................

I love ox-eye daisies, although not their 'grown up' name as my daughter woud say for the latin, (Leucanthemum vulgare or Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), what a mouthful! Whilst the plant is quite common - I think its under-used in the garden. And, this lovely little monster has certainly helped me out of a rather tricky spot on more than one occassion. I love it in the garden and I love it as a cut flower - even a single flower looks great in a jug or a cup on a table. I have a painting I love - my lovely ox-eye daisies in a lovely vase - need to take a photo of it! We often have daisies on the table - I love them and it would appear, I'm not alone - good article link there:

With that in mind, I've been trying to figure out how to get more of them into the garden - good for my soul to see them in the garden and good for the pocket as I will use them as a cut flower in the house. And good for the carbon foot print as they are a native local plant which I can get here. I've a bit of a weedy rocky spot in between the byres - I wanted something that could stand upto the wind - tolerate a bit of grass competition - and also will look 'natural' - and a nice cheery welcome for folk coming to the house. Its very exposed out there, normal garden plants would need to be very tough to stand it out there - no point in summer bedding - it would get blown to shreds. I think I need a daisy patch right in the yard, which I can see from the back door in the morning.

I can't think of anything nicer that a lovely cheerful patch of daisies bobbing in the wind. I built it up with a few old rocks from the old byre building (in the field) and some soil I got from freecycle - that way the roots will get established nicely and if they grass comes back (when the grass comes back) I can live with the 'natural' look - I'm aiming to make it look as if the stones, daisies and grass have always been there to cheerily greet any visitors. Thats the plan anyway. This is the first bit of 'landscaping' I've done here - I wanted it to fit in, be pretty and functional enough to just leave it to get on with it. I hope it works - the semi-circle is a good way of keeping away from the edge of the wall where its rocky and horrible and making the two byres look interesting.

Ox-eye daisy is great as a cut flower, keeps well and looks lovely repeat flowers again and again - and I'll be able to take root cuttings/split up the plants each year. Its a great mixed in with other plants - its a good ground hugger when growing - so weed's don't really stand a chance - and if you're thinking of trying to make a grassy area look a bit more 'wild flower-ish' this plant can hold its own against even grass and it is very pretty! I thought it would be a good plant to have in an area I wanted to look natural, be at home with the stones and the byres and pretty in any grass that regrows - its native - so it could almost have accidentally landed there all by itself. Not quite, but almost. Key to a good design is to look at it once its done and after a day or two just look as if its natural - fitting into the family very quickly, like its always been there.

Ox-eye daisies are a bit of a toughie, but a goodie its a native plant and pretty robust! Easy peasy from seed - and can be readily collected after flowering - very easy from root cuttings - or division - one tiny patch can give you alot of plants. Here are mine - I did a whole load of seeds in a couple of seed trays - forgot about them and then after about a year - (when moved house) I split up the plants and put them into a fish box to grow on - when I dug them up earlier this year my two seed trays - gave me a wheel barrows worth of plants - from one packet of 99p seeds!

I wanted something in that patch which would die back in the winter - its dreadfully exposed and although I had thought of a budelia or a hebe - I think really we need something hardy, native and pretty for that patch - a perennial plant like the ox-eye daisy will be wonderful there and very very cheery in the summer. There it is all planted a few months ago - all ready to establish before the winter and the snow landed on top of it!
It thawed out today and all of the little ox-eye daisies are still sitting there having been covered with snow - waiting for spring to arrive - just shows they are tough little soldiers! The grass is growing back around the edges of the stones which now look as if they've been there for ages. The total cost of the bed/plants and hard landscaping - 99p for the seeds gave me about 30 plants - the plants did the rest, stones free being 'recycled' and the chap from freecycle delivered the soil for free. I'm quite happy with it for that price, a very grand but frugal design or what?


  1. Aren't daisies just the happiest flower. It will be nice to see a photo of your first happy bouquet. Good luck!!!

  2. They are - I think - I will indeed be putting a picture of the first bouquet from them up - what a great idea!!

    Nice of you to drop by.......

  3. Hi, Thanks for your comment on my blog. Ox eye daisies grow well in my garden, but I'm thinking they aren't native to Nebraska, U.S.A.

    I looked up byre, and saw that it's a barn for cows. You must live in the country. I like that area with the stones.

  4. Great to discover an Orkney blog. One of the areas of Scotland I've never been to. My husband's grandfather was a minister somewhere in Orkney. Last year my daughter was due to visit on a school music tour, but it was cancelled at the last minute because of bad weather - it was that snowstorm in late March. They were all so disappointed, and I was too, because I didn't get any Orkney photos!

    Love your cheerful daisy area. I'm amazed at what's available on freecycle. We have just registered because we have things to shift, but I might end up replacing them with incoming goodies!

  5. Oh Thank you sue - I should add a bit of dialect translation! Byre is indeed a word for a barn for kye (cows)! I loved your blogging about eating sweet potatoes - very interesting - I'm glad you've got ox-eye daisies there and I think it might be native where you are (although my american geography aint great, it looked like it native all over america!

  6. Linda freecycle mainly powered our home!
    We've had bed, freezer, mud, wool, knitting, drawers, pyjamas, plants, tables, chairs, you name it in this house it probably came from freecycle and alot of our old things have gone on there too. I hope you get alot of goodies - we've a small group here (1000 homes) so I peruse the daily digest with great enthiasm - managed to get rid of an old rabbit hutch the other day and the chap was just delighted to have it - hurray we all win.
    Nice to hear from you - Orkney is an amazing place - privilige to be here - the weather and gardening is a challenge but its fun (?!) learning! Pity you couldn't get here before - hope you make it up - there's always next year.................!

  7. Three cheers for the cheery Ox-eye Daisy! Can't wait to see your smiley patch next year in full bloom. Bed looks great.

  8. The Ox-Eye Daisy is also good for insects with it being a native flower, so you're doing your bit for the wildlife too. I've got a patch in my garden and they're so welcoming.

  9. Very true Jo - I'd forgotten about that - they do love them don't they. Janet thanks! I like reusing stuff where I can - and hopefully it will just blend in after a while and look very cheery indeed!

  10. That looks a lovely little area, how beautiful - just shows what you can do on a tiny, tiny budget! Can I ask, is an ox eye daisy the same as a marguerite? Its what youd described - a perennial thats very hardy, very happy to keep on growing, crowds out weeds.

  11. Thank you KC

    I'm talking about:

    Although an Ox-eye can be called a margareite (I don't call it that but you can call it that) - common names can be tricky and often are very dependant on where you are - but they are not the one I'm talking about.

    The plant you'd find in a garden centre called a 'Marguerite daisy' is a non-native tender (half hardy) perennial often grown and sold for summer bedding. Its more of a bushy type thing - where as ox-eye daisy is a spreading matt perennial. Easy to be confused - they are all called the same thing sometimes.

    'Marguerite daisy' for bedding planting:
    Argyranthemum Frutescens (or also known as Chrysanthemum frutescens)
    which come in white/pink/yellow and aren't very hardy (well not here anyway!) but very pretty. I like them alot!

    Apology if too much info - difficult for me to know when to be quiet!

  12. hello, do you mind if I use your lovely Ox Daisy image on my blog - - we are planting a meadow and I'd like to do a little mood board. Thanks!!