Someone must have been having fun when naming the Gazoo Series of gazania (Gazania rigens), but that’s okay, because it’s such a beautiful daisy-like flower. A dear friend and budding gardener brought me a pot of these incredibly bright daisies, each one a big three inches (8 cm) across, on rigid 10-inch (25-cm) stems. They have glossy, thick foliage, and make a terrific plant for containers in sunny locations. It’s not hard to guess that these flowers are native to South Africa, given how much they love heat and light.
Gazanias are frost tender in cool climates (and perennial in warmer zones), but will bloom through the summer if kept in bright sun and given good drainage. Of course, gazanias are all about vivid colour—the red, purple, orange and yellow are deeply saturated—and most flowers have a thin black ring around their central disc. The white Gazoo Clear Yellow is really dazzling and has no black ring. I’m going to find some violet-blue ‘Victoria’ annual salvia for the centre of a large container, and put these bright daisies all around it.
The past two summers have had long stretches of heat and burning sun through July and into August, and plants in containers have suffered. In the third week of May, the temperature is 28°C on a bright sunny day, and I see plants wilting already. I’m going to look for more sun-loving plants like gazania that can take the heat and keep on ticking.