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Floral Snow in Summer

Floral Snow in Summer

By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

Hey campers. We know you’re sick of the cold white stuff, but now it’s spring and we want white, as in flowers of the Shasta daisy. White is a classy color in a plant, and it can really pop in the garden.

In 1895, Luther Burbank took a lowly western perennial with pleasant white flowers and crossed it with a European daisy and finally crossed those hybrids with a Japanese mum called Nipponanthemum to create one of the stalwart beacons of the mixed perennial border. Burbank was amazing, wandering the rows of hundreds of daisy hybrids where he created and selected larger flowering, better branching forms that even had a bit of fragrance.

Not much has been done since his work in the 1890’s. The hybrids were particularly good cut flowers but would blow over in the wind and had a bit of the wet-dog smell. Enter the Terra Nova breeders. Foliage stink was eliminated in the first round of breeding. Flowers were selected from thousands of seedlings that showed new levels of doubleness and a promising yellow color. Plant habits which were only preceded by the variety ‘Becky’ became broader, better branched and more floriferous.

Some, like award winning ‘Luna’, seemed an impossible goal from the prolonged selection process, but wow! What a winner! Gardeners love these daisies due to their easy culture and the value these perennials provide, increasing every year with more girth and flower-power. They are quite hardy and are an easy first perennial for first-time gardeners.

Let’s have a peek at some of the best.

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Leucanthemum ‘Macaroon’

The perfect little “cookie,” Leucanthemum 'Macaroon' forms a low, tight mound only fourteen inches tall and is well-branched with many stemsA one-year plant will spread to about twenty inches and the flowering height will be twenty inches tall. The double flowers start out yellow and open to bi-color white with yellow centers, then, when fully mature are white with gold centers. Charming and useful in containers, edges and en masse. The fresh flowers appear full double which is a trait the Terra Nova breeders are working on. Hardy from USDA Plant Hardiness Zones five to nine.

Leucanthemum 'Macaroon' 

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Leucanthemum ‘Coconut’

Lovely, fluffy, white double daisies on a compact habit. We all loved this one instantly. An easy choice. This great crown produces multiple flowers in the first year and continues to expand in ensuing years. The foliage height is twenty inches high by twenty inches wide. Flowers reach twenty-six inches tall and are great as a cut flower. Happiest in full sun, it will reward users from zones four to nine with flowers from June to August. Beautiful en masse or in the mixed border. When working up combos look to mix the white daisies with low grasses and tall contrasting plants like Knautia.

Leucanthemum 'Coconut'

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Leucanthemum ‘Mt. Hood’

Large, double flowers composed of ice crystal-like petals. 'Mt. Hood' has a perfect mounding habit and an enormous number of flowers throughout the season. Strong rebloom and overall great vigor. Each layer of flowers covers the previous bloom cycle. Multiple layers of blooms extend the season. Good foliage cover too! Happiest in full sun, it will reward users from zones four to ten with flowers from June to August. The foliage height is sixteen inches high by sixteen inches wide. Flowers on this compact variety reach twenty inches tall. This Shasta daisy is destined to become a garden classic.

Leucanthemum 'Mt. Hood'


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Leucanthemum ‘Luna’

Talk about perfection. . .This gem proves the moon is out! Showy pom-poms of double flowers rest atop a dense, upright mound of foliage. Flowers bloom yellow, then gradually change to a two-toned yellow and finally finish white. Flowers stay yellow for two weeks or longer in Oregon, unlike other “yellows” that fade in a matter of days. Use in mixed beds and mass plantings. Full bloom starts in June and will continue until August. Hardy from zones five to nine. The foliage height is nineteen inches high by nineteen inches wide. Flowers reach twenty-two inches tall and are great when used as a cut flower. They prefer full sun.

Leucanthemum 'Luna' 

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Leucanthemum ‘Victorian Secret’

Here’s a Shasta with a neat, compact habit and more charm than should be allowed. A knee-high model of a daisy, giving other Leucanthemum on the runway an inferiority complex. Casually ruffled flowers on just right stems last and last, even through extreme heat. The foliage height is fourteen inches high by twenty inches wide. Flowers are tight to the foliage at sixteen inches tall. Full bloom starts in June and will continue until August. Hardy from zones five to nine. Odor free! Try to make a mixed container with Victorian Secret, Knautia, Geum, and Heuchera and you’ll have cut flowers for months.

Leucanthemum 'Victorian Secret'

Dan Heims is an award-winning author who lectures throughout the world. He was recently honored by the American Horticultural Society with the Luther Burbank Breeding Award, as well as the Perennial Plant Association’s Award of Merit. He was honored by receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s Reginald Cory Cup for advancements in breeding.

You may contact Dan at [email protected].

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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Photos courtesy of Suntory Flowers

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