Daisies remind me of the “He loves me; he loves me not” chant… sunny summer days, grabbing handfuls of the roadside wildflower, pulling off petals and tossing them aside, hoping every flower would have an uneven number.
I thought all daisies were the same – wildflowers with a single row of petals surrounding a centre yellow button – until I discovered the Esther Reads. They looked every bit like a fluffy snow white chrysanthemum. I planted a clump of them along a fence at our first home, right next to a style that crossed the fence to an elderly neighbour’s yard. The little patch greeted me with bright and cheery flowers each time I climbed the style to have tea with my neighbour that summer, but we moved the following year so I didn’t get to enjoy it for long.
I didn’t plant daisies again for nearly forty years — not until we moved to our current neighbourhood where ferns, salal and lots of moss welcomed us to a rural lifestyle. One bed at a time we’ve tamed parts of the back yard, planting shrubs and perennials. Daisies seemed an ideal choice in our informal gardens, and the Esther Read was an early selection.
Sixteen years later, overrun with other plants and overhung by evergreen trees, there is still just one modest clump. Ignored and undivided, the blooms that peek out each summer are small, but it returns faithfully every year. I’ve learned that it isn’t suited for its location, but I have a sentimental attachment to it and I’m scared to dig it up and move it for fear that’s the last straw and it dies.
Last spring I took the advice of a more knowledgeable gardener and bought clumps of the single Shasta Daisy to plant in sunnier spots. I’m a little surprised they’re doing well given my lack of a green thumb. One thing I’m discovering, however, is that finding the right plant for a particular location and giving it the kind of care it requires goes a long way to ensuring a good result. For me, that means knowing what can survive in the acidic soil here, shaded by 200’ cedar and hemlock trees, without regular watering. Oh yes, and be something the wildlife won’t eat.
But that’s a whole other story.
In the meantime, we writers might benefit by remembering what ensures success for the daisies can also be applied to our publication efforts – provide a strong story, find the appropriate agent or publisher for our particular genre, and follow submission guidelines carefully.
I think I’ll go water my daisies now.
What grows best in your garden? Are you a nurturing gardener or more the ‘let it fend for itself’ kind? How does that translate to your writing-for-publication efforts?
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