DAISY, DAISY… give me your answer do

DAISY, DAISY… give me your answer do

My grandmother was called Daisy. She grew up in a time where old-fashioned flower names were in vogue, and when it felt like every meadow was bursting with daisy chains just waiting to be made.

How fitting that the English daisy (Bellis perennis) symbolises innocence and that these blooms were often paired with primroses as a symbol of childhood.

For those of us of a certain age, this little flower has woven its way into the very fabric of our childhood, and of our hearts. From pulling the petals off one-by-one hoping that the flower would bless us with our true love’s affections, to the thrill (quickly followed by the broken stem disappointments) of trying to make a daisy chain.

With my grandmother’s given name, in our house we were also required to know the lyrics to the Victorian song “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Made for Two)”. The song is said to have been inspired by Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, one of King Edward VII’s mistresses. If my grandmother had known this fact, then she may not have been so keen for us to sing it in her honour… being a good Methodist woman!

This ditty was also the earliest song to be sung using computer speech synthesis by the IBM 7094 in 1961.

An interesting fact committed to sci-fi film legend in “2001: A Space Odyssey” when HAL’s final act is to sing “Daisy Bell” as a tribute to its great ancestor, the first computer to ever sing.

Beyond all the popular culture – as is the way with nature – there is also meaning to be discovered in daisies. They make up around 10% of all the flowering plants on earth, and come in many colours. Underneath, they are the same species, but those with soft white petals are perhaps the most iconic.

Daisies may look delicate and innocent, but they are as tough as they are beautiful. They can bloom most of the year, and adapt to almost any environment. So never judge a book by its cover.

I have my own summer lawn meadow in full bloom at the moment, and I’m delighted that daisies have popped up uninvited, but very welcome. They’ve inspired me to draw them, paint them and photograph them.

Daisies also live up to ‘their’ song… and they give us their answer… when all seems to be going wrong in the world… hold on to faith, hope, love… and innocence. I’m pretty sure it’s more powerful than we can possibly imagine.

My new ‘Daisy Magical Meadow’ weatherproof garden aluminium will be joining three other Nature’s Grace ‘Magical Meadow’ pieces at the Cockington Court ‘Bloom’ exhibition from the beginning of August through to the end of October. Curated by Marissa Wakefield, Centre Director, ‘Bloom’ is the second of this year’s seasonal exhibition programme at Cockington. The ‘Bloom’ preview opens 3rd August, from 5pm to 8pm, and all are welcome!


8 Responses

  1. Cathy says:

    Love this!!! Reminds me of our conversations lol

  2. In my childhood at parties you had to do a party piece and mine was Daisy Daisy, taught to me by my Grandmother.
    I am not sure where Lola heard it but she wanted us to sing it the other day and we had great fun belting it out.
    It is odd how things long forgotten can be brought to the fore once more; twice in a week in this case!
    Great blog and love your new series of garden paintings, I am sure they will be snapped up.

  3. Lynn Parker says:

    I’d forgotten about Hal at the end of 2001 singing this and never knew about the programming of the computer loved the video clip.

  4. Lee O'Brien says:

    Oh the disappointment of the misguided thumbnail which broke the daisy stem. I made my last daisychain more decades ago than I care to remember yet still feel this woe so acutely as if it were yesterday!

    I love your grandmother’s name Veronica. Mine was Doris and although I loved her dearly her name doesn’t have quite the same whimsical quality. Lovely blog stirring many warm memories – thank you.

    • Yes. Those dratted daisy chains! It seems Doris has her own hidden secrets too… Doris is of Greek origin and means gift. It’s also the feminine form of Dorian… which immediately makes me think of Dorian Gray.

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