Anthemis

These daisies are at the heart of an English summer garden.

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There are some summer daisies that have become classics of cottage and country-style gardens. Anthemis, or Dyers camomile is one of them, with the best species and varieties, such as ‘Susanna Mitchell’ and ‘E. C. Buxton’ almost prerequisite. Anthemis are a group of around 100 or more aromatic plants from the Mediterranean and into Africa, spanning clump-forming perennials, often short-lived, and tussock or mat-forming woody shrublets.  A handful of the clump-forming species have become favourite border plants, with one species A. tinctoria spawning more than 10 varieties, and an important parent in other hybrids. Their cheery, long-stalked, gold-centred flowers appear in June through to high summer over dissected, aromatic bright to grey-green foliage. Blossoms come in a range of orange and yellow tones, through pale primrose to white, the paler kinds possessing peerless poise and elegance. They also effortlessly combine with rich blues and stronger yellows.

All anthemis enjoy sun and well-drained soil and if they get this are easy to grow. They also need good air, becoming mildewed in dank, wet conditions. They also tend to flop in heavy rain or if they over-grow in too rich soil, so be ready with support. After flowering chop  down spent shoots to encourage fresh new growth. Being short-lived you will need to divide plants in spring or replace them every few years. Anthemis can be grown from seed sown in early spring. More perennial kinds can also be raised from shoots removed from the base of plants in summer.