Daisies and Bees on Chesterhaven Beach Farm

As you may recall, on Chesterhaven Beach Farm we have devoted acres upon acres to wildflowers that feed the bees. These include daisies, bee balm, milkweeds, and much more.

What that means is that we don’t grow predictable (often genetically modified) crops that provide cash to us when harvested. Instead, we made the decision to provide a haven for bees and other winged creatures.

Our fields were designed to provide a real show for our friends and family. The first show is “white” with daisies, not just any daisies, big and beautiful shasta and oxeye daisies. Starting in May, the fields come alive in a white bright magical blanket of joy. Even in years when the daisies die back from a harsh winter, they still pop up here and there to provide a little excitement.

Bees thrive on plants that need pollinating, picture this as a give and take relationship. The bees don’t intentionally move the pollen from place to place on daisies it happens accidentally, or as a by-product of the action of flying from flower to flower as the bee searches for nectar.

Bees focus on one flower, one plant at a time before moving to the next. The same bee may revisit various daisy blossoms several times to gather as much nectar as it can to bring back to the hive. The bee stores the nectar in the hive, and over time, that nectar is transformed into honey.

Growing Daisies on the Eastern Shore

The Shasta daisy is an herbaceous perennial, meaning it dies to the ground in the winter and returns every spring. Daisies are generally easy to care for: placed in full sun and given the right amount of water to start, they can spread like wildfire.

Here’s a little more in depth information about one of our favorite blossoms:

Genus Species: (Leucanthemum x superbum)
Sun: Full sun
Bloom Time: July to September
Family: Asteraceae
Zones: 5 through 9
Height: 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide
Propagated: seedlings started indoors or by direct seeding.
Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Good soil drainage and regular weeding is essential.

Daisies pair well with contrasting colors, such as blue salvias and peachy anise hyssop. You can even plant a whole garden full of these flowers, contrasting colors with bright yellow black eyed susans or purple coneflowers. If you shear off spent flowers, you can extend the bloom time to last well through the summer, or at least encourage a second blooming later in the season.

Looking back at the wildflowers on the farm this summer. These yellow sunflower-type plants covered the field with color.

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Kara Brook

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