Louis Raymond experiments in his own gardens like

a mad scientist, searching out plants that most people have

never seen before & figuring out how to make them perform.- The Boston Globe

…Louis Raymond ensures that trees can grow in Brooklyn…

or just about any other place where concrete consumes

the dirt and skyscrapers shield the sunshine.- USA Today

 
 

NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.

 
 
 
 

NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.

 
 
 
 

New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.

 
 
 
 

Plant Profiles

Silver Tansy

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Thank goodness for tiny & delicate:  Even I can't have just big & bodacious in my garden.  Silver Tansy is one of my favorite airy notes in June. 

 

Pure-white daisies scarcely bigger than my fingertips, on "exploding star" see-through clusters on thin stems.  And then, the foliage...

 

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Ferny gray leaves (at least when the rains stop), so sparse that you appreciate them.  If they were in dense clumps, like, say, most artemisias, you'd be more likely to take them for granted.

 

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Cut a few stems for a bouquet.  People will be charmed (or perhaps puzzled) by a fresh and optimistic side of your personality—or, at least, your aesthetics.

 

 

Here's how to grow this silver-filigreed daisy:

 

Latin Name

Tanacetum niveum

Common Name

Silver Tansy

Family

Asteraceae, the Aster family.

What kind of plant is it?

Flowering short-lived perennial.

Hardiness

Zones 4 - 9

Habit

Mounding, airy, multi-stemmed.

Rate of Growth

Fast.

Size in three years

Two feet tall and four feet wide.

Texture

Airy and delicate.

Grown for

the silvery ferny foliage, similar to artemesia, if not (alas) that silvery.

 

the profuse see-through clusters of tiny white-petaled daisies, whose graceful "filler" talents, in the garden as well as in a vase, are similar to baby's breath.

Flowering season

June.

Culture

Easy!  Full sun and any decent soil.  Extremely pest and disease resistant, too.  Fairly xeric when established, in which case it would be lower and denser. 

How to handle it

Silver Tansy is the definition of self-reliant.  As long as it gets plenty of sun and the Winter drainage is reasonable, you'll probably have some in your garden forever. 

 

Individual plants last three years or so, but Silver Tansy self-seeds.  The self-seeding is a very aesthetically-helpful partner to the plant's short life-span:  After three years, a clump gets a bit woody and sparse, whereas self-sown seedlings mature quickly and are fluffy and filigreed stem to stern. 

 

Help the plants age with grace and style.  After blooming is through in early Summer, cut nearly all of the entire clump down to the lowest-possible leaves on each stem.  I've heard that reblooming is possible, but the sure benefit is that the clump will leaf out lower and denser, and stay in good shape the rest of the season.  Clumps that aren't cut right back after flowering tend to flop open. 

 

If you cut every last stem of all of your tansy clumps right to the ground right after flowering, however, none of the flowers will be able to go to seed and provide the next generation of plants that you need.  So leave a stem or two alone, here and there, to mature and set seed in peace.  Even better: rejoice if a clump pops up in some obscure location.  Let all the stems of that clump flower and set seed, then cut off stems and toss them around your garden where you'd like to see Silver Tansy popping up.

 

In my experience, Tanacetum niveum self-seeds only modestly, but it's likely that in drier climates and in more well-drained beds than mine, self-seeding would be more prolific.  Seedlings are easy to thin.

Downsides

None I'm aware of.

Variants

'Jackpot' is shorter and denser—not an advantage in my book, where the straight species' airy informality is an essential part of its charm.  There are many other shorter and denser daisy species to grow if that's what turns your crank.  There are over hundred and fifty Tanacetum species, and then there are cultivars, too.  Most will strike you as weedy, or will self-seed so heavily that they'll be difficult to control.  At least in the East, only Tanacetum vulgare 'Isla Gold' will find a ready place in gardens. 

Availability

On-line and at specialty retailers.

Propagation

Cuttings, as well as from seed.

Native habitat

Northern Europe.

 
 
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