Every Blooming Thing: The way we got things done in the old days
When I was young — a long time ago — our family lived 7 miles east of Corning, close to the Sacramento River.
We raised most of our own food. My mother had a large vegetable garden, canning everything.
We had hogs, sheep, chickens a Grade B dairy, beef cows and almond trees, all on 20 acres.
For a few years, my mother, brother and I took care of everything because my father was gone during the week to a job in the Bay Area. Besides the work on the farm, my mother had a job in town as a bookkeeper for Dr. Meuser.
She was so busy, but what I remember most, is that she always had time for her flowers. The ones that I loved were her Shasta daisies. Because we could see Mount Shasta from our home, I thought, "how cool for the flowers and mountain to have the same name."
Actually, in 1890, Luther Burbank crossed ox-eyed daisies with a Japanese daisy to obtain the famous Shasta daisy. Besides the Burbank potato, it was his most successful hybrid. He named the new daisy after Mount Shasta, which was near his home at the time. It has remained a garden favorite ever since.
The daisy has a tradition of modesty, and in Victorian times, it was a popular name for sweet young girls. But, although beautiful, the daisy has another side. In a vase, they will make other flowers wilt.
As a child, I would pick them, put them in water with food coloring and the daisies would suck up the colored water and turn pretty colors.
We still associate them with simplicity, but they are composite blooms, with floral groups surrounded by petals. How many times have you pulled the petals chanting "he loves me, he loves me not."
Shasta daisies are a hardy, shrubby perennial that grows well in a sunny location with well drained soil. Divisions planted in early spring will bloom in June or July of the same year. Plants from seeds will bloom the following year. Cut them down to the ground in late fall to protect from frost.
My mother planted daisies all along a ditch near our house. They were so pretty and pristine. They reminded me of a million stars up in the sky. But these were stars that I could reach and hold in my hands.
Looking back, I wonder how we were able to get so much done. I still had time to go to school, ride my bike, climb up an old almond tree to my tree house and read a favorite book; belong to 4-H, play with friends, pick strawberries and pick up figs at Henry Martin's gardens for money to help pay for my school clothes.
I have come to the conclusion that there were no televisions, computers or smart phones to name a few. We just did the things that mattered. Try planting some daisies and start some memories of your own.
Shirley Felder is a member of The Red Bluff Garden Club which is affiliated with Cascade District Garden Club; California Garden Clubs, Inc.; Pacific Region Garden Clubs and National Garden Clubs, Inc.