‘Becky’ – July 28, 2011

My Linda & Our 'Becky' Daises

I used to be a homicidal maniac. OK, that’s a lie, a small lie, a tiny exaggeration but a lie none the less….What I meant to say was that I felt like a homicidal maniac until I learned the serenity and calming effect of deadheading drifts of ‘Becky’ Shasta daises……:-) Oh Lord, it’s nearly like making love with your wife, I didn’t say exactly like it, I didn’t say better than, let’s be clear about that Linda if you’re reading this and I know you will, trying to catch me doing or writing something weird so you can have me committed…..:-) But in the interest of full disclosure, deadheading ‘Becky’ Shasta daisies is almost better than sex…….:-)

Extremely Healthy Looking 'Becky's Just Putting On Buds

The first time I grew ‘Becky’ Shasta daisies was when I lived in Atlanta in a one bedroom apartment and I built some wooden raised beds out back and planted 8 one gallon containers of the most beautiful Shasta daisies you ever seen. Healthy, vigorous and BIG….Before you knew it they were two feet, three feet tall and growing and when the buds started opening I thought I was going to have a fit. I never seen anything so beautiful plant wise……It was like a table top of white petals with yellow centers stretching as far as the eye could see, well not that far fellow gardeners but far enough to put a big old smile on my face and a big beautiful smile on my wife’s face too. And those of you that have been reading my little stories regularly know what I think about the smile on my Linda’s face………:-)

Leucanthemum 'Becky' Superbum or for the rest of us, Shasta Daisy

Now ‘Becky’ Shasta daisy, was the 2003 Perennial Plant of the Year or as I like to call it to impress the kids in the neighborhood, Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ Superbum. ….:) Now that’s it’s Latin name, kinda like my Hebrew name is Same’akh Lev or Happy Heart, kinda weird huh? Kinda like naming your kid “Merry Christmas”…..:-) But anyways Leucanthemum Superbum it was and is till further notice…….:-) Here is the description of “Becky’ from the website of Perennial Plant (dot ) org when it won the coveted Perennial Plant of the Year Award…….:

http://www.perennialplant.org/ppy/03ppy.htm

They say ‘Becky’ is the quintessential daisy, well if quintessential means what I think it means then they got that right……:-) The history of ‘Becky’ daisy is kinda convoluted but interesting. Kinda like unraveling a mystery story. A mystery story whose central figure is both beautiful and strong. Beautiful 3 inch wide single white petals with yellow centers that are pleasing to look at, kinda like looking at a beautiful woman you’re in love with named ‘Becky’. You can’t take you eyes of her and you want her around all the time and you want to keep her healthy and happy all the time too…..’Becky’ Shasta daisies are like that…..

'Becky's just starting to bloom. Deadhead a bit everyday or so and you'll have blooms all season.

With 40 inch really strong stems that keep her upright in the stormiest Alabama summer thunderstorm she’s also about 40 inches wide too, not too wide, not too narrow, she looks just right in a drift in the border or alone as specimen plant. But who can grow just one ‘Becky’ daisy is a stronger man or woman than me. I got to have drifts of her, I got drifts of her right now, 3 drifts of about 9 plants each…..and when I look out into the garden from the back porch about this time of year or earlier, well I see my table tops of white petals with yellow centers shining in the sun during the day or lighting up the evening with its bright white petals if its getting dark, the white drifts of flowers just jump out at you late in the evening or early early in the morning before the first rays of the sun can be seen……

'Becky's Paired with Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Now when you’ve had your first cup of coffee or even your second one, well me? I gotta get out there and start tidying up, deadheading my plants so they look their best when company comes or even if it ain’t nobody coming but me and the birds and butterflies. You see when your ‘Becky’s’ are perfect, without any faded blooms on it, its something to behold. Standing right next to mine I can see exactly what needs deadheading and as I progress from one plant to the next, the drift of daisies just keeps getting prettier and prettier. Until you finish and you look down at your pile of deadheads, finished faded blooms and then you look up and across a perfect picture of loveliness, your newly tidied up ‘Becky’s’, every bloom a star, every petal pure white, every center like a yellow sun…..

People talk about plants sometimes that have this attribute or that attribute, something good about it, something not so good about it, well ‘Becky’s’ ain’t got no downside that I know of, except one….and that’s if you ain’t got any……:-)

Paul From Alabama

Addendum:

Here are some of the highlights from the Perennial Plant of the Year award page:

Landscape Use

Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ is a wonderful choice to be grown as a specimen or en masse in the perennial border, in naturalistic landscapes, to attract butterflies, for garden bouquets, and even large containers. It can be one of the main stalwarts of the summer border. Plant with Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage) for a long season of bloom. Place Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ (pincushion flower) in front and add Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ for a lovely combination of white, blue and blue-lavender. For extra zing, add Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ a brilliant scarlet red, summer flowering bulb.

Cultivation

An excellent cultivar of an old-fashioned favorite, Becky Shasta daisy grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Plants are not tolerant of excessive moisture or wet soils in winter. Deadheading encourages rebloom and extends the flowering season into autumn. Stems can be cut back to the lower foliage after flowering to tidy the plant. The flower stems are strong enough to keep this daisy upright after a heavy rain and to make it an excellent cut flower. Many Shasta daisies do not grow well in the hot, humid temperatures of the South and are not hardy in cold northern winters. ‘Becky’ is superior to other Shasta daisies due to its robust habit and performs well in southern and northern climates.

Propagation

Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ can be propagated by stem cuttings, tissue culture, or division with stem cuttings the normal method. Cuttings are taken from field grown stock plants that should be replaced annually. Cuttings should be placed in a well-drained growing medium with a pH of 5.8 to 6.5. Rooting hormone is not required but treating cuttings with #8 Hormex produces a more uniform root system 2 to 3 days sooner than no treatment. Best rooting occurs with cuttings taken at 3-week intervals from June through August.

Hardiness: Grows reliably in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9

Light: Full sun, tolerant of partial shade

Soil: Growth is optimum in moist, but well-drained soil

Uses: This Shasta daisy is valued for its long bloom season making it a good choice for both formal and informal gardens. The florist will find that ‘Becky is an excellent cut flower.

Unique Qualities: Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ provides great garden color from July to September. It is known for its adaptability to northern and southern gardens. The sturdy stems ensure good garden presence throughout the season.

Planting Information: Plant in fall or spring. It tolerates a wide range of conditions in full sun or partial shade. Growth is best in well-drained and moist fertile soils. Deadheading encourages rebloom and extends the flowering season.

The comments below were transferred from my “old” blog as was the little story above with the date of the story as shown.

5 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
Linda
The thing I like best about Becky daisies is they are so abundant!  Unlike specimen plants,  I can go out and cut a huge bouquet of daises for the house and you never miss them in the garden.  Best of both worlds! 🙂  Love ’em!
Friday, July 29, 2011 – 08:18 AM
My Shastas have finished bloom, following Rudbeckia which changed the beds from yellow to white. They’re not Becky, but the hardiest plant from a packet of seeds of mixed Shastas I planted some 15 years ago. Maybe I should start buying real plants instead of planting seeds and sticking little cuttings, but it is what I do.You are right, deadheading is one of the most satisfying chores in the garden. “Off with your head, off with YOUR head, OFF with your head.” Pretty soon you’re feeling better about everything.You Image Verification thingie buffaloed me. I tried 10 times and every time it said it wasn’t a match. I’m trying anew.
Friday, July 29, 2011 – 10:31 AM
When I copied and pasted to try anew the first part where I said your Daisies were gorgeous and I asked if Linda just enjoyed bouquets from your garden for the house and strolls among the flowers or is she a dedicated gardener too — got lopped off.
Friday, July 29, 2011 – 10:34 AM
@ My Linda, The thing  I love about you the most is you’re not sneaky…..:-)@Nell Jean, I know there are other Shastas that hold up to our heat and humidity, I just ain’t found any but Becky but I’m sure they’re lots more. And as far as growing from seed, I’m with you on seeds and cuttings, but I’m just now really knowing how to do it the right way, actually doing it at all and really enjoying it…..One thing for sure, if you don’t try it you’ll never get the hang of it……and as far as my Image Verification thingie, it buffaloes me too sometimes. Apple Computer is doing away with hosting websites this year and later on in a few weeks or so I’m changing hosts and blog software. Going with  something else, Word Press or something else that I can find that I can use and is easy for any readers I got to use too.
Also Nell Jean thanks for your comment on our daisies and as far as Linda being a dedicated gardener, she a dedicated everything……:-) Gardener included……:-)
Friday, July 29, 2011 – 03:22 PM
I have a WordPress Account and a Blogger Account. I don’t know if the Blogger seems easiest because I started with it first and it is familiar or if it really is.
Friday, July 29, 2011 – 09:36 PM
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