The English Daisy Lawn

Bellis_perennis_Marburg_02Daisies? I have always liked them. They are easy going and companionable in the garden. They are not fancy. They are sunny and friendly. A bunch of daisies relaxing in a vase is a sure sign of summer in my zone. They are sturdy plants, meaning they are willing growers and easy to care for. The daisy/aster family is a large one, comprising more than 20,000 species. Simple, single flowered and obliging-this describes most daisies. A well grown stand of  shasta daisies is stunning in bloom. But my favorite daisies are those that tend to the weedy side. My most favorite daisy?  Bellis. As in bellis perennis.  That English daisy that is scrappy enough to thrive in a lawn, providing you garden in a zone where the summers are on the cool side.

English daisiesThe broad leaved foliage forms a tuft that hugs the ground. That they thrive in a lawn can be good or bad, depending on your definition of a lawn. The informal and casual entrance to a lakefront neighborhood near me is covered with white bellis blooming in the spring. There are some trees, a sign, and the English daisy lawn. The conditions must suit them perfectly, as it appears the only maintenance is an occasional mowing. Another neighborhood entrance a good hour away features a few trees, a bell tower, a sign, and a bellis lawn. Though our summers are anything but moderate, these two patches thrive.

William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_Daisies_(1894)I make a point to go and look at the daisy fields at least once in the spring, as I would have one if I could. The bellis in my yard is not nearly so robust. The grow for me, begrudgingly. I am likely to grow them in pots until they are done blooming.  Then I set them out in a different spot in my garden, hoping to eventually find a place they will like. This painting by the 19th century painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau, entitled “Daisies” tells more than one sweet story. It had me thinking about how I might get an English daisy lawn.

painting the shop floor (1)Detroit Garden Works has been closed since January 15. We routinely clean and repaint. This year we needed repairs to our roof, and some of our outside walls needed to be rebuilt. We had water coming through some damaged concrete block, and in to the building. That water greatly damaged the painting on the floor.  Once the repairs to the building were done, it was time to repaint that floor. You can see the gray spots where the paint had lifted off the floor. Dan took great care to isolate the room from our furry population. Milo, Howard, Ollie, Gary and most of all MCat would be obsessed about getting in that room. Once the room was secure,Dan laid down a primer coat of paint over the old floor painting.

repainting the floorI rolled the base coat in three different colors, all of them dark. Succeeding layers of paint would be progressively lighter.

painting the shop floor (2)All of the paint applied in the beginning of stage 2 was put down with small wood garden marker, taped to a bamboo stake. This was Buck’s invention. I wanted to be able to paint standing up, as much as possible. I was after a loose textural description of grass.  The border was undercoated with several shades of gray and gray brown, which would become a gravel border.   repainting the shop floor (5)This is the 3rd time I have painted this floor since we opened in 1996.  I probably would have done a new floor painting anyway, as the shop has a 20th anniversary coming up the end of March. It is a very special spring for us. It seems like the perfect time for a floor painting that features a few English daisies in bloom. And just in time. The shop will reopen for 2016 on March 1st.

repainting the shop floor (4)The grassy portion of the painting is just about done. I have looked at it all morning, trying to decide if what is there is enough, or if I need a few finishing touches.

repainting the shop floor (3)The gravel border is comprised of paint drops in various colors. It was impossible to keep my shoes out of it. This part is done and dry. If all goes well this afternoon, there will be daisies in the grass.

English lawn daisiessomething like this.


  1. Leah Henderson says

    LOVE the painted floor!!!!! Can’t wait to see it

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks Leah. I did do a final run through this afternoon with a mix of several of my greens. I am ready for daisies tomorrow. How I have enjoyed this project! best, Deborah

  2. Oh Deborah, this is lovely! I am eagerly anticipating the daisies.


    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Kay, you are a painter, so you know what is involved. I have been painting for just over a week now. Under perfect circumstances. The room is roped off, and I have the time and space to myself.I am happy about how it is coming along. Figuring out how to do the daisies has been on my mind for days. Luckily one spot on the floor will be covered by our counter. That is a good spot to experiment. all the best, Deborah

  3. Agreed! Inspiring!

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says

    A great project. I can’t wait to see the finished daisy lawn.

  5. This is brilliant! Congratulations.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Pat, many thanks for your letter. I am on the brink of the finish. What a great place to be. best, Deborah

  6. W-o-w-w-w!
    I’m ready to kick off my flip-flops and run through that grass.
    I had to look at the floor several times before I realized it was paint — not turf! The gravel looks as if it should go ‘crunch’ right under your feet.
    You are one amazing artist, Deborah! Keep painting.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Terry, I painted a lot, many years ago. Not so much any more. But what fun it has been to have a project like this. Just me, the floor, and a 9 cans of paint. It has been a good week. all the best, Deborah

  7. That looks AMAZING!! Wanna come and paint my workshop, shed and garage floor??? Lol xxx

  8. very creative!

  9. Accolades all around! I only wish that I lived closer to see it in person. Boston is too far a commute though it would be worth it!
    Thank you for being such an inspiration to us all… near and far!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Elvera, I promise to post pictures of the finish. I promise to try to post pictures that are the next best thing to being there. thanks for writing, Deborah

  10. Cara Kazanowski says

    I can’t wait to see the newly painted floor — and the rest of DGW, inside and out!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Cara, we will reopen on March 1st. I can see where Rob is going with all of the new things that have come in. There will be plenty to see. best, Deborah

  11. Anxiously awaiting the daisy’s!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Carol, I have a big love for those daisies. How good will it be to see them, every time I walk through that room. best, Deborah

  12. Enchanting! Please update us when the daisies appear!
    Best wishes from Boston,

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Kate, I plan to post pictures of the daisies tomorrow. The paint may still be wet! I can hardly wait to get to this part. all the best, Deborah

  13. Can’t wait to see it! So clever. Think Spring!!

  14. Brilliant! and lovely.

  15. Wow. What a great idea. Looks so realistic. Fun!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Elaine, it was a lot of fun-and realistic enough to be convincing. I am looking forward to seeing what it will look when Rob does his vignette. thanks, Deborah

  16. You never ever fail to inspire.

  17. Your floor daisy field is so very tasteful. The painted gravel walk around the field is lovely too. Your photos are very realistic…looking like real pant growth and not paint. I love it. The daisy is one of my favorite flowers and I have had them in my flower borders — up until the deer started eating them into non-existence. I have never seen a live daisy field. Where in Europe did you see a daisy field?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Susan, as they are commonly known as English lawn daisies, I would guess you could see them there. I do know Rob has seen plenty of them in Italy. best, Deborah

  18. Deb That is totally cool…Ive never seen anything like it…We had a little Spring but back to winter Wednesday but I did get to work outside a bit but lots to do…Hurray for Spring and I cant wait to see your daisys…

    • Deborah Silver says

      I think our spring will be a little early this year-but the weather in March can be unpredictable. We’ll see. I have snowdrops just about to open. best, Deborah

  19. This is fantastic!! I hope to see it in person one day:)

  20. debra phillips says


    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Debra, it will be interesting to see how Rob arranges that room once the floor is finished.I am confident that what he will do will surprise me. best, Deborah

  21. Wow! I love your floor….I mean grass. Wish I could run barefoot through it …with the sun shinning on my back!!! Oh, I forgot the Daisies! I love them too. I have Becky in my garden.
    Great job Deborah! I have been reading your blog for over a year, and have just gone back to when you started it. I know……love your work.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Karen, I appreciate that you are going back through to read from the beginning. Thank you! best, Deborah

  22. Love the floor. I have oxeye daisies and am thankful for every one.

  23. Inspired, Deborah! How beautiful, unique and lovely. Can’t wait to see it and shooting for March 1.

  24. Dear Deborah,

    Have always loved the grass floor painting in your shop. This new one, already looks fabulous and promises to add to the DGW shopping experience. You’ll have fun adding your Daisies – I would think!

    Lots of prep for such a project, including barriers for the furs! With three cats at our office/workshop/apartments, they are most curious, want to be right there – watching, helping and will get themselves in a world of trouble!

    Bucks engineering of painting tool is clever and no doubt helpful – ease of execution gets more and more critical, doesn’t it?!

    Like that your hair (and bangs) have grown long over winter – most becoming style.

    Looking forward to seeing the finished masterpiece…and you, soon.

    XOX, Silvia and Gerry

  25. Love the flower…love the idea! Looking forward to seeing it.

  26. Congrats on 3x’s painting the floor, hope it’s 10x’s more into the future.

    Moved from my 30 year garden. Best to stay in my new chapter/book, but you reminded me I’ve moved, too, from my beloved English daisies. Later in the season annual blue ageratum came up.

    Working hardscape in the new garden, it’s not ready….for plants. Anticipation is this year’s garden.

    Love your rug !!!

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks Tara. It’s fun to look back on 20 years, and look ahead to what will be next-all at the same time. best, Deborah

  27. Dear Deborah,

    what a wonderful carpet for the daisies! In many hand-made rugs, the weavers will often put in an obvious mistake, a reverse of the pattern or some color “flaw” because “only God is perfect.” With tongue in cheek, and respectful of your great good humor, will you put in a flaw or will your daisy field be perfect? I am curious to see.



  28. Jo Ann Marsh says

    Love the floor! Can’t wait to see. It’s a tradition to come the day you open–a wondrous way to celebrate my birthday, the same day! I’ll be out of state, but coming to DGW will give me something to look forward to when I return. Meanwhile, all my best to all of you for the coming year!

  29. Wow! That’s absolutely amazing. I love your posts!

  30. I also love the English daisy. The hills behind my house are a mass of white in the late Spring. I look forward to their display each year…and just think, I do nothing but enjoy!

  31. Deborah, you are genuinely gifted. Your aesthetic sensibility never fails to deeply resonate with me. Thank you, as always, for sharing online, as you are the creative caffeine to my own miniscule .17 acres of the universe.

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