Friday, May 15, 2009

Dog daisies

click photo to enlarge
Dog daisy, oxeye daisy, moon daisy, marguerite: Leucanthemum vulgare by any other name would look as good.

I have a soft spot for the flower that I first came to know as the dog daisy. Every year, around June, it would appear in the grass where I played as a child, its tall flowers and ragged leaves standing up in clusters above the smaller clover and vetch, overshadowing the diminutive common daisy (Bellis perennis) with its size and elegance. It seemed to proclaim itself as a flower suitable for picking and displaying in a vase, and that is where it often ended up.

These days I still notice the flower on dry grassland, on motorway and roadside verges, and on wasteland. It gives a lift to the unkempt corners of our country, and decorates the attractive places with its bright white and yellow stars. This particular group of dog daisies was in what I consider to be an unusual place at an unusual time. I photographed them a couple of days ago in a railed-off flower bed outside the main entrance to Kew Gardens, Richmond, near London. They had clearly been deliberately planted, and were flowering a month earlier than I expect to see them. But there they were, giving a high contrast sparkle to the end of the street, and a radiant glow to the entry of these world-famous gardens. I'd like to say "Well-done!" to the person who thought of using these common flowers in this place, in this way. As I bent down and started to photograph them a couple of other people with cameras seemed to notice the flowers and joined me. Here are my two best shots.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 73mm (146mm/300mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On