By Dan Heims, President, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Hiya, campers. Yesterday the high was 61F and today 86F! Crazy weather all around the country! Some plants hate the cold; they just appear sluggish (no offence, hostas). Then there are plants like the Shastas who do not care a fig. They continue to flower unabated in heat or cold. These are plants like The Amore™ Dicentras, blooming their heads off in one hundred degree heat or our beautiful Shasta daisies, which are looking marvelous after hail, torrential rain, and cold snaps.
First seriously bred by our hero, Luther Burbank (in 1915), a man smitten by Shastas. He combined several species including the gangly, few-flowered Shasta wildflower to created hundreds, if not thousands, of superior hybrids.
His biography notes his daily tours through the test fields, where he would note a bigger flower, a more double flower and even a fragrant one. The plants were impressive, but carried a wet-dog smell that turned people off. Enter Terra Nova’s breeders, who took the Shasta program to new heights, producing full flowers (without the stink), and significant improvements to the flower size, doubleness, and yellow color.
Furthermore, these plants were selected for the most amazing form, making perfect globes or mounds of flowers over a fair bloom time. The three selections from Terra Nova’s breeders that are being introduced today join ‘Luna’ (Dan’s favorite), ‘Macaroon’, ‘Goldfinch’, and ‘Victorian Secret’. All love full sun and good drainage. Yum!
Leucanthemum ‘Belgian Lace’
This beauty forms a low mound with large, double white flowers with fringed petal tips. Flower buds are light yellow and wide open flowers have yellow center petals when young. Great edger or use in mass plantings. Super in the landscape, high crown count, and bright, unique semi-double flowers make this selection a standout. Hardy in zones five to nine and can bloom from June to August. Holds up well while combining with other perennials and grasses. Non-demanding. In full sun it can grow to 24 inches tall and 26 inches wide while in flower.
A sweet little slice of sunshine for any garden. Cute and compact, this Shasta daisy opens a lemony citrus yellow and shifts to a clean, crisp white flower. Tight, heavy branching creates an extended bloom time with successive flowers opening on top of previous blooms. Hardy in zones five to nine, and can bloom from June to August. A wide base but petite habit lends itself well to sunny borders, up front and center in beds, or mixed containers. In full sun it can grow to 14 inches tall and 14 inches wide while in flower. Try as a light gold color echo for Kniphofia or Gaillardia. Great cut flowers, too!
This new Leucanthemum could not get any sweeter! The abundant, multi-layered, pure white flowers completely cover the foliage. Low to the ground, but tight, heavy branching creates an extended bloom time with successive flowers opening on top of previous blooms. Its petite habit makes it great for sunny borders, sitting front and center in beds, or in mixed containers. Hardy in zones five to nine, and can bloom from May to August, making this one of our earliest Shasta daisies. Excellent vigor, too. In full sun it can grow to 14 inches wide and a mere nine inches tall. Makes perfect nosegays as a cut flower and is one of our longest-blooming daisies.
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.