I had a friend tell me that she had to run out and cut all of her daisies quickly since the hay cutters had arrived earlier than she expected. She had several beautiful vases of flowers in her home. I also have these common daisies growing in my flower beds; they have been very reliable. Apparently they can be a pest. I found them on the invasive weed website.

A little history about the oxeye daisy: It is a short-lived perennial originally brought here from Europe. The dainty flowers have escaped cultivation and now crowd out other plants on many rangelands.

A vigorous daisy can produce 26,000 seeds per plant, while smaller specimens produce 1,300 to 4,000 seeds per plant. Tests have shown that 82% of the buried seeds remained viable after six years, and 1% were still viable after 39 years.

Oxeye daisy requires cold winters to initiate blooming. The plant also reproduces vegetatively with spreading rootstalks. These daisies are also resistant to many herbicides.

This new view is a far cry from when I was a child and we did “he loves me, he loves me not” with the white petals of a daisy. After finding your answer, if he loves you, then the seeds were pulled from the yellow head. Next, you threw them up in the air, catching a few seeds on the back of your hand, since this was the scientific method of seeing how many children you would have. You didn’t count the seeds that fell in the cracks of your fingers. Sometimes it could be over 50; not believable, but still exciting.

About oxeye daisy: The old name, chrysanthemum leucanthemum, means “gold flower white flower.” The new name, leucanthemum vulgare means “common white flower.” It is also known as bull daisy, button daisy, dog daisy, field daisy, goldens, marguerite, midsummer daisy, moon flower, and the shocker … white weed.

Oxeye daisy is a beautiful flower — one that is both loved and hated. It was a plague on pastures and crop fields across Europe. In Scotland, the farmer with the most daisies in their wheat field had to pay an extra tax. Now this European plant has invaded our continent from coast to coast.

The lower leaves are spoon shaped, while the upper leaves are narrow and clasp the stem. It can be confused with shasta daisy, but they have a root ball, while oxeye daisy has a creeping root system. Oxeye likes rights-of-way, rangeland, mountain meadows, abandoned homesteads, and the edge of waterways. We have them along the highways and field here and they are so common that our color for the University of Tennessee orange and white started out being the color of the common field daisy.

Sheep, goats and horses eat the oxeye daisy, but cows and pigs do not like it. The plant spreads rapidly when cattle pastures are managed with a low-stock density and continuous grazing regime. Under these conditions, cows repeatedly select their preferred plants, while ignoring unpalatable species like the oxeye daisy. So, if you see this plant growing, it would be a kindness if you picked them and brought the bouquet inside to lessen the number of seeds available.

Since we having being staying at home to protect others, I have been thinking about the sounds in the garden. The first sound that we have noticed that has faded is the sound of jets and airplanes. The sky is not busy anymore.

After sitting in the house under quarantine, we are happy that the weather is now allowing us to sit on the porch. Danny swears he can hear the oak pollen falling.

Song birds are singing and being mocked by mocking bird, bees buzz by, and woodpeckers find insects in nearby trees. A rooster crows at the neighbor’s house. This morning, I even heard a cow lowing; must have been lost or calling her calf.

Wind rustles in the leaves; fireflies are quietly lighting up the night. We have frogs croaking in the fishpond. Squirrels chattering in the trees; they are warning you to keep away. Voices float when dining outside.

Even my unforced work in the garden makes comforting noises — the clicking blades of the pruners, the shovel digging into the ground. The grunts and groans I make bending over moving potted plants.

Doing my part, I now have a vase of daisies sitting in the kitchen.

Gayle Fisher is a master gardener for the state of Tennessee, as well as an accredited National Flower Show judge. A student consultant for landscape design, she has served as an officer in District IV Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs and is a member of the American Horticultural Society. She gardens with her husband, Dan, in Niota. She can be reached at gaylesf@tds.net

Gayle Fisher is a master gardener for the state of Tennessee, as well as an accredited National Flower Show judge. A student consultant for landscape design, she has served as an officer in District IV Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs and is a member of the American Horticultural Society. She gardens with her husband, Dan, in Niota. She can be reached at gaylesf@tds.net

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