Erigeron karvinskianus AGM – Mexican fleabane

pic of louise sims
Louise Sims

Everyone loves a daisy, but for me, this is the sweetest of them all. This has been such a wet week for most of us, and a few of the taller daisies in our garden (leucanthemum, rudbeckia, asters etc) are looking a little bedraggled, whereas the Mexican fleabane always looks cheerful!

Apologies to those who know it well, (however you will understand why I have chosen it) but I am constantly amazed by friends and visitors to our garden who have never come across this erigeron. I first saw it at Great Dixter many years ago, swiftly obtained our first plant, then sat back and watched it, over the years, colonise every crack and crevice on our terrace, and tumble down every flight of steps. From April to October we are rewarded (and very little effort is required) with a profusion of tiny daisy flower heads which open white and fade to a delightful mix of pale to dark pinkish purple.  I am often asked for a plant and although I can occasionally find one in a neighbouring pot, (they are quite difficult to prize out of paving cracks), I have found that the easiest method is to find my dustpan and brush and scoop a load of seed into a paper bag.

This daisy may be native to Mexico, but it has no problem with Sussex, and I read that it does well in coastal areas. The secret of its success is cracks (I have never found a seedling in a flower bed) and even if your paving is old, uneven and crazy, it will be enhanced by this little beauty: it softens every corner it touches, and I can honestly say I have never pulled out a seedling in anger – only apologetically!

No surprise then that this one has earned the RHS’s Award of Garden Merit.

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Great Plants this Month, Autumn,

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