Wildlife & Nature

In a nutshell: the daisy or ‘day’s eye’

DaisyI can never see a field of daisies without wanting to make daisy chains!

The word ‘daisy’ comes from the Old English dæges-eage, meaning ‘day’s eye’;    in Welsh, it is called ‘llygad y dydd’, ‘the eye of day’.   This is because the flowers open at dawn, their heads tracking the sun’s progress across the sky.   At dusk they slowly shut each ‘eye’ by turning their white petals inwards to make a cup shape.  Daisies will only open in full sun, staying firmly closed in wet weather.

This is the origin of the saying ‘as fresh as a daisy’, meaning someone who has slept well and is bright and ready to face the morning.

Photo © Jo Woolf 

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  • christinelaennec

    We are also big lovers of daisies. We had our garden redone this winter, including new lawn laid, in which we’ve planted numerous wildflower plugs including two kinds of daisies. Yesterday my husband mowed the lawn – but before he did, he picked the 8 (yes, 8!) daisies that had come up, and put them in a little vase. We’re hoping that they will spread and spread.

    • Jo Woolf

      Haha, that’s dedication for you! How lovely! 🙂 For the last 2 years we’ve had a few orchids coming up in our lawn (it’s a fairly new one, as it’s a newish house). Colin mows around them very carefully!

  • tearoomdelights

    I had never made the connection between the saying and daisies closing up, but right enough! It’s such a childhood joy, making daisy chains, isn’t it? The necklaces began to droop rather quickly though, I seem to remember.

    • Jo Woolf

      I know – the day’s eye closing at night is such a sweet idea! I just love it. I used to make loads of daisy chains too. I used to try and revive them by putting them in a glass of water but you just end up with limp stems!

  • blosslyn

    They are really quite beautiful when you look at them and stop thinking of them as a weed. I wondered if children today make daisy chains, I used love making them, but never thought as to why they went limp so quickly, but they did and now I know why…. I will now stop thinking of them as a weed and more a wildflower 🙂

  • christinelaennec

    Just to add my tuppence / two cents to the daisy chain discussion, my daughter (now 16) grew up making daisy chains, along with her friends. I’m sure this is because they went to a school with a grass play area – a rarity these days where most schools have nothing put paved or surfaced play areas. She loved lolling about on the grass with her chums at school, and daisy chains were a big part of that.

    She in turn taught the younger neighbours downstairs (who went to a school without any grass areas) how to make them on our shared drying green, which was a great producer of daisies.

    I do feel all schools should have a grassy area for children to play in. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a way for children to experience nature.

    • Jo Woolf

      That’s really good to know, Christine, and thank you for adding this comment. I totally agree that all schools should have grassy areas for children to play in. We are so lucky that our two girls grew up in a rural area where the countryside was their playground. Increasingly, I think we risk losing touch with nature, and I fear sometimes that we don’t value the connection enough, especially where children are concerned.

  • Rachel Meriel Donnelly

    When I was a little girl my Mum showed me how to make daisy chains. I became obsessed and used to make so many daisy chain necklaces and headbands and bracelets that my Mum called me Dolly Daisy as a child (I was born 49 years ago!). Later on I had a plant pot of dog-eye daisies that invaded the lawn so that every year a clump of daisies arose at random places throughout the lawn. In memory of me (his first daughter who had gone off to university and wherever else) my Father used to mow around them in the lawn… then eventually he died of cancer in July 2014, and me and my new boyfriend (whom he had only met once) got married on Dad’s birthday 12-6-2015. At our wedding reception buffet we had daisy serviettes/napkins… and NOW I’m making collage artworks for our village exhibition on the theme of ‘light’. Needless to say the faithful daisy has a prime place as being the Day’s Eye. (I’m not quite sure why but writing this post to you has me sobbing bucket loads!)

    Mad old crazy creative Dolly Daisy person…
    What ever next?!

    • Jo Woolf

      Oh, that’s such a lovely and touching story! Thank you so much for sharing it. I can see you’ll have a lifelong love for daisies – and why not? I bet your Dad is smiling. Coincidentally my husband and I got married on my Dad’s birthday – 16th April. Keep up the madness and the creativity, it’s the only way! 🙂 PS Hope I covered your afterthoughts! 😀

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