Anthemis cupaniana

This charming daisy, large-flowered as a wild marguerite, though at most 12 inches (30 cm) tall, grows from a mat of soft grey-green leaves which are finely dissected and aromatic. As the plant is fast-spreading but not invasive – it is easily pulled up if it goes too far – it is my ideal of a ground-cover plant. A small piece planted in spring will spread over two or three square feet of soil in the course of the summer, or will hang down gracefully over the edge of a wall.

The daisies begin to flower in early summer and continue for many weeks, and there are intermittent flowers in autumn and even winter, when they can be gratefully picked for the house.

Anthemis cupaniana, a native of Italy, needs full sun and thrives in a dry border. Graham Thomas, who has written so authoritatively on ground-cover, recommends using it in this way with bearded irises. Like many plants with grey or silver leaves, it looks drab in rain, and may be reduced in a bad winter, but, as with Stachys olympica, there are always small pieces left, and every root will grow. Indeed, the plant is the better for being cut back every year.

If you are growing it for the first time, unless you want instant results, put the plants in as much as 2 feet (60 cm) apart, and they will soon join up.

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