Dainty daisies for autumn and spring

November 15th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Bellis (Daisy) 'Bellissima'

I once found a dainty little double flowered daisy in my lawn. Well, patch of grass (and weeds, clearly) would have been a better description but I dug it up and kept it going in a pot for a couple of years before it faded away.

Double flowered lawn daisies were already grown in gardens and given long winded Latin names as long ago as the 1600s and it’s from these distant cousins that today’s double daisies are derived. And what great spring flowers they are.

Some, I have to say, carry flowers that are so huge that they collect rain and weigh down the stems after just a shower. ‘Bellisima’, though, has medium sized flowers that combine impact with self supporting stems. There are four colours: deep red, rose pink, white and a pink that fades to white. They won’t reach more than about 15cm in height at most and, unlike most other double daisies, they have one other special feature. They might well already be in flower.

Most of these dainty little daisies need a cold spell to prompt them to flower, so they don’t usually get going till spring. Not so ‘Bellisima’, which flowers without a cold snap. It’s usually in flower in October and November and in a sheltered porch flowers will keep coming through the winter before developing a second peak in spring.

And if Mr F have any dwarf tulips or chionodoxa left, slip them in between the ‘Bellisima’ daisies when you’re planting.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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