D is for daffs, dahlias and daisies

Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy

We’ve only two kinds of daffs, because I went to town buying various kinds of tulips. The kinds we have are some at about two feet high, plus a clump of sweet little narcissi (the dwarf ones) that peep out from under the acer. The dwarf ones have taken, and have clumped into bright highlights of color dotted around the beds. My friend Adie has a glorious display of dahlias every year: Hers are the ones that look like chrysanthemums, and they’re self-sufficient enough to almost change my mind about the type of dahlia I’ve always loved: cactus dahlias. Hers have formed huge ‘bushes’ that offer a spectacular feast of blooms and greenery, are easy to tame when you’ve to tidy up for winter (their stems don’t turn woody like a real bush would) and I’ve never had a potted cactus dahlia long enough to catch its ‘perennial’ qualities. If anybody who isn’t a klutz gardener happens to know if cactus dahlias grow into a similar shape and size over a few years, I’d be grateful for the info. (To store somewhere in my mind for the next time I’ve a new planting budget.) We’ve African daisies, osteospernum, that didn’t like their position or the clay soil. Where I first planted them was in a raised bed in a very enclosed small garden; that flowerbed got full sun for most of the day and daily watering. I’ve tried to maintain gerbera daisies from potted gifts I’ve been given in the past, but they invariably died, so I’ve sworn off floral abuse. Gerberas are one of my favorite flowers though, and one of the simplest, yet most effective displays of them I’ve seen lately is the brainchild of Clare Flower, a florist in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. This company does the flowers for Lusty Beg Island Resort and Spa (and the weddings there), and the charming treatment was simply to put one bright orange gerbera in a very modern glass cube. I kept the buttonhole we were given during our stay there, (mind you, it now looks like something from a ghoulishly macabre Mexican Day of the Dead celebration) but it was an impressively sturdy little creation, mixing something like a slice of a banana leaf or camellia leaf to provide the glossy bottle-green background for a posy of yellow carnation and berries.

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