Monday, October 20, 2008

Plant of the month - October

Leucanthemella serotina

What a welcome home. This gorgeous 6-footer daisy is peeking over the beech hedge in my front garden at the moment, waving at me from down the street. You can't help but smile.

It's supposed to only grow in moist soil, but it seems happy on my sandy loam - I think perhaps the last two very wet summers have had something to do with it. But last year it out-survived a common-or-garden Shasta daisy planted alongside: a shame, since the Shasta daisy finished just as the Leucanthemella began, so they made a great partnership.

I can't complain, though. This tough, easy-going plant is just soldiering on through: it's been flowering its socks off for nearly a month now, and shows no signs of flagging. Its teacup-sized flowers have a subtle smoky-green centre, fringed with yellow, that gives a touch of sophistication to all that cheerfulness, so even the most painfully stylish can grow it with confidence. But I just love it for giving my day such a lift but demanding so little in return.


Plant Mad Nige said...

Oh how I agree! I've been a Leucanthemella serotina fan since reading about them in Anne Scott-James wonderful treatise on cottage gardens about 30 years ago. Apparently cottagers used to call the plant 'Jumpers' because it grows high enough to jump over the fence. Mine have rocketed to a height way over my head. And they're weatherproof. Why don't more of us grow them?

emmat said...

constant gardener - i've only just seen your blog post on my Nice gReen leaf about how you were going to Kew on monday - I was there, did we speak? I tried to speak to as many different people as possible, but I don't know whether I met you! Ooohhhh how fruystrating.

The Constant Gardener said...

yes we did :D

I was the one in the explorer bus when we were having a little conversation about blogs... funnily enough!

I thought I recognised you but without your little blog pic in front of me didn't want to embarrass myself!

nice to have met you even if it was in disguise...:D

and Nige - might have known you'd be familiar with Leucanthemella. Nobody else I speak to has ever even heard of it! But I kind of hug it to myself as my little discovery. And give bits of it to people I really like and who I know will like it. Love the nickname - Jumpers it is from now on!

emmat said...

oh god but I think I was a bit grumpy then! I had just had an annoying phonecall summoning me back to my desk for more changes to a piece that was perfectly fine how it was grrr.... Anyway sorry if I was grumpy. I am usually v v friendly and nice.

I wish I had known. Oh how annoying! I missed the end at the tropical nurseries - was that fun? I do guiding at Kew with Valerie Munro and many others so I've seen a lot of it before, but even so, it was such a treat to be taken round and I totally totally love Tony Kirkham, (though not, as my flatmate at university used to say, in a sexual way).


The Constant Gardener said...

hee hee you see you never know who's around...!! No you weren't grumpy at all, or at least not so that I noticed.

The tropical nurseries were awe-inspiring: lots of stuff about inconceivably rare plants and how they're re-introducing them to the wild. And I feel just the same about Tony Kirkham :D (great parrot, too!!)

James Golden said...

I'm very interested in your photo of Leucanthemella serotina, which I've read about but never seen. My garden has such unusual conditions (some might call it hostile to many plants) that I'm always seeking out plants appropriate to my heavy, wet clay. I've never been able to find a source for this plant in the US. If you or your readers know where I might obtain seeds or plants, I'd appreciate hearing from you at: golden [at] federaltwist [dot] com. "Jumpers" - great name.

The Constant Gardener said...

Hi James, I'm afraid I got mine mail order from Beth Chatto - she ships within the EU but not to the US. Now, I've never tried them, but you could have a go at B&T World Seeds ( who have Leucanthemella seeds and seem to ship all over the world...?

inadvertent farmer said...

Thanks for sharing...gotta love a plant that makes you smile!

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