Double English Daisy

"Oh, there were flowers in Storrington
On the turf and on the spray;
But the sweetest flower on Sussex hills
Was the Daisy-flower that day!"

-Francis Thompson


Bellis perennis 'Habanera' English daisies are in general white with red tips, but are sold in mixed shades from light pink to rose-pink to bright red, always with a yellow eye sometimes obscured by the fluffy petals. Shown in the May photo is a red & white bicolor Habanera.

They are called 'Large quilled doubles" because of the fluffy almost thistle-down like qualities. The bicolored flowers are quite a lot larger than most English Daisy varieties, two or three inches where most would be only one-inch.

Before this ornate English Daisy turns into a fluffy ball, the bud unfolds in a curious manner forming a spiral, which is rendered most obvious due to the two-toned quills providing a red-pencil spiragraph apperance, which soon thereafter unfolds into its stunning fluffiness.

English daisies bright shade or dappled sun or morning sun, with moist well-draining soil. It forms a small clump of basal leaves, & they can be planted quite close together, six or eight inches apart. They grow to about eight inches height or including stem & flower. It blooms mid to late spring on Puget Sound, often still flowering in early summer, especially with deadheading.

As a biennial, the little clumps will die out of the garden after the second year. They can self-seed if they love their conditions, but their seedlings will be of unpredictable character.

'Habanara' means "Dance of Havana" or for being a feminine word the implied meaning is "She is a Havana Dancer," for the large flowers are supposed to evoke a woman in a beautiful dress dancing slowly in the Havana moonlight of a lost, more decadent time.


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