From “Best of Show” in The Reason For Flowers: Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives by Stephen Buchmann:
“Almost everyone knows about Luther Burbank (1849–1926) and his russet Burbank potato, especially ardent fans of McDonald’s french fries. Making hand crosses in the manner of traditional plant breeding, Burbank, ‘the wizard of horticulture,’ created dozens of new varieties of fruits and vegetables, along with the much-beloved Shasta daisy and ninety-one other types of ornamental plants….
“Curiously, hybrid plant origins were something horticulturists often tried to conceal in the not-so-good-old days. In parts of Western Europe and America, hybrid plants were often regarded as ungodly, or certainly at least unnatural and to be avoided. Prideful man was not permitted to ape his Creator by producing a new kind of living thing….
“This sounds ridiculous today, but even Luther Burbank told a story about how a minister, posing as Burbank’s friend, denounced him from the pulpit for flouting God’s laws by creating hybrids. It seems that Burbank’s Shasta daisy, proudly grown in American gardens for more than a century, is not so innocent a bloom despite its many, pure-white ‘chaste’ petals.”
From “Adolescent Garden” in Red Clay by Eve Hoffman:
My garden is five years old, orderly and raucous,
blurring the line between what we planted and
what God planted….
A modest magnolia on the edge of the woods, an elm
growing so fast its limbs have been raised twice.
Oak leaf and lace cap hydrangeas
the deer pruned down to the ground when first
planted. White and purple beauty berries, tiny pale
blue butterflies. Red rhododendron blossoms
the size of white peonies next to them, blue iris….
Echinacea, shasta daisies,
bushes with berries that invite birds and tree branches
that fork to hold nests….
Summer wasps and weeds, wildness to be tamed,
plants surrendering to the Georgia heat.
And in the season of no blossoms
a hortus botanicus of texture and green.
This is the second of two posts with photographs of Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum × superbum) that I recently took at Oakland Cemetery’s gardens. The first post — with photos AND math — is White Asters / Shasta Daisies (1 of 2).
Thanks for taking a look!