Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday: It's Not All About The Susans, But, It's A lot About Them!


It's been a while since I've written about the Susans/Rudbeckia fulgida! They're a mainstay in the garden, but, easily over looked until mid July when Mother Nature turns on the switch and overnight the garden is a field of golden yellow.
They're pushy and would take over if I let them and truth be told some years I haven't had the heart to rip out all the Susans that I should/could have!

When visitors stop by and comment on the abundance of Susans in the sunny and shady garden areas, I secretly feel like the adoring mother of that unruly, but, delightful child, who's been running amok at a party. "He did what? Really! Isn't he adorable!",  I exclaim as I ignore notice that several salvia have been overrun and the verbena has disappeared.

I adore their sunny faces and how they light up even the darkest corners. They are part of the rough and tumble wildflowers that make Clay and Limestone...well, Clay and Limestone!

Although, I rarely see bumbles visiting the Susans, the showy nectar and pollen rich flowerheads attract many other pollinators, including, small bees, like the colorful green bee above,
small butterflies and skippers,
beetles, wasps and various flies.

The Wavy-Lined Emerald moth (Synchlora aerata) lives out its caterpillar phase on the Susans disguised as a fading flower part covered with petal pieces to confuse the birds that might want it for a tasty meal.


This garden is a lot about the Susans, but not all about them! Each spring I edit and weed, letting the Susans remain growing where nothing else does~over the limestone bedrock that hides a few inches below the soil. Plants that need more room for their roots get planted where the soil is deeper and annuals and tender perennials like Cuphea, agastaches and salvias that also have good wildlife value are planted in containers that sit in spots where nothing can grow.
Don't be turned off by their brilliant yellow color or their lack of a sexy pedigree, the Susans rock even as they fade.
xoxogail

The Susan particulars!
Season: Summer into fall
Height: 1-3 ft.
Flower Color: Gold with black center
Hardiness: USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9
Foliage: Lower leaves are toothed; stem is unbranched or slightly branched
Flower: 1 to 2 in. orange petals and a dark central disk Site:
Dry to moist sites
Propagation: Division spring or fall, seed
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Well-drained
Regions: Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Origin: Eastern USA,
Life Cycle: Perennial
Warning: They spread by root and seed! You will have to divide.


Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. 

Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.


Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pollinator of the Day: Bumble on Joe!


I love the Joes, but then what's not to love with those big beautiful mauve/lavender-pink flower heads that bloom all summer and attract almost every kind of pollinator that visits the garden.

If you want the full story on the Joes that live at Clay and Limestone go here...Perhaps, you'll find yourself thinking as I do, "So many Joe-Pyes and not nearly enough garden space."

xoxogail

I am on the mend.

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

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