Anthemis Daisies: The Heart Of An English Summer Garden

The white and gold of Anthemis E.C. Buxton

by Garden News |

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.

Creamy petals for Anthemis Wargraves Variety
Creamy petals for Anthemis Wargraves Variety

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.

Anthemis Susanna Mitchel with large, golden centres
Anthemis Susanna Mitchel with large, golden centres

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.

Fact: dried flower heads of A. tinctoria yields a yellow dye, which is good on silk and wool.

Six anthemis varieties to boost summer borders

The orangey bloom of Anthemis Sancti-Johannis
The orangey bloom of Anthemis Sancti-Johannis

A. sancti-joannis - Bushy, short-lived perennial, producing orange-yellow daisies over grey-green foliage. H/S: 0.6m (24in). Available from Chiltern Seeds or Tel: 01491 824675

A. tinctoria ‘E. C. Buxton’ - Pretty lemon-yellow daisies over a long season. Dissected grey-green foliage. Perennial variety. H: 60cm (24in) S:75cm (30in). Available from Crocus or Tel: 01344 578111

Yellow glow of Anthemis Kelwayi
Yellow glow of Anthemis Kelwayi

A. tinctoria ‘Kelwayi’ - Short-lived form producing yellow daisies over a mound of ferny green foliage. H: 75cm (30in) S: 40cm (15in). Available from Chiltern Seeds or Tel: 01491 824675

‘Susanna Mitchell’ - Creamy-petalled daisies with primrose centre and silvery-grey foliage. Flowers earlier than other varieties. H/S: 60cm (24in). Available from Macplants Berrybank Nursery or Tel: 012875 341179

Weeks of pleasure with Anthemis Tetworth
Weeks of pleasure with Anthemis Tetworth

‘Tetworth’ - Bushy, mounding plant with grey-green foliage. Lots of white, yellow centred daisies for many weeks. H/S: 60cm (24in). Available from Langthorns Plantery or Tel: 01371 872611

‘Wargrave Variety’ - Creamy-yellow daisies over dissected grey-green foliage. H/S: 60cm (24in). Available from Beth Chatto or Tel: 01206 822007

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us