By Mary Reid Barrow
They don’t call this pretty white daisy Lynnhaven Carpet for nothing.
It’s a name packed full of meaning.
For one, the daisy was named after the beautiful Lynnhaven River because it was found growing on the river shore and nowhere else.
The name, “carpet” tells the story of how this enthusiastic daisy grows. It’s a perky flower that blooms in profusion and is a pretty spreading ground cover all in one.
Lynnhaven Carpet will spread out via little side shoots in all directions to form a low growing velvety carpet that can stay green all year.
Lynnhaven carpet was discovered by a local gardening guru, Dale Henderson, now deceased, in the mid-1900s on the Lynnhaven River property of the historic Adam Keeling house in Great Neck. Adam Keeling was one of Virginia Beach’s early settlers and to this day, the property, around the home, though privately owned, has not been disturbed in any big way.
No one knew how long the little daisy had been growing there and no one could identify it. Henderson sent it off to a well-known national plantsman, Charles Cresson, and he deemed it a wild hybrid and named it Lynnhaven Carpet after its river home.
Lynnhaven Carpet is kissing cousins with various fleabane daisies, Erigeron pulchellus. You often see an old familiar fleabane daisy growing on stems of several little flowers along the road side.
During April and into May, Lynnhaven Carpet blooms, with flowers, several to a stem that can be two-to-three inches to almost a foot tall. Sometimes the white petals take on a slightly lavender tint around the bright yellow eye.
The soft, fuzzy velvety leaves are dark green and slightly silver on the backside. Occasionally the edges of the leaves curl over to appear to outline a leaf or two in silver.
Lynnhaven Carpet is easy going. It takes sun and part shade and tolerates almost any kind of conditions. It doesn’t ask much of you except to share its spreading plants with others. It does spread rapidly but has never jumped my wooden border.
This little plant might not be considered a literal native of Virginia Beach in the annals of science, but it was certainly born and bred here and is one of our claims to botanical fame.
And it is named Lynnhaven Carpet for the river that also produced another of our claim to fames, the Lynnhaven Oyster!
Not bad bragging rights for a pretty little daisy..
Do you have a favorite tree or plant with a story to tell? What relationships have you observed between plants and critters? Who eats whom? Who has babies where? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org