Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

All Gold Things Must Pass

But, not yet for the Susans!

The Susans are still going strong.

The wet summer and cooler temperatures during July have kept them perky and thriving. Rudbeckia hirta is a plant that can tolerate dry conditions, but they do much better in a moist, well draining soil....The nemesis of plants here at Clay and Limestone! I've written about that here.

The Susans' Bed is top dressed with leaf mold, compost and mulch most years...
They still look early summer fresh...We've had a good summer.

There are several with double petals
...Maybe I ought to take a page from Frances' plant propagation program for specific traits and save the seeds of the doubles. She's written a great post on her gravel grown plants~~go here for the story. The doubles are kind of cute....Although, it's probably an odd virus and not some genetic sport!


You might not see many butterflies on the Susans. That's a duskywing (?) in the above photo.
The Silvery Checkerspot and the ever present skippers are the most frequent visitors. Bees do stop by occasionally.

The real payoff for growing Susans is the mass of gold flowers and the birds that visit for seed in the fall. Speaking of fall; some of the flowers are beginning to fade. Susans are a bright yellow (or screaming yellow as my friend Layanee refers to it). As they age they begin to turn a deeper gold~~
Then they quickly brown. The petals dry up and the seeds ripen. In the past, I've deadhead them to encourage more flower growth. I've not had outstanding luck with that and now just let them go to seed....for more plants and for bird food. They aren't the preferred food of Goldfinches, but, they will eat the seeds once the coneflower heads are empty!

If you want to grow Susans successfully the best time to sow seeds is in the fall. You can let always them go to seed and fall to the ground. Or, you can collect seeds and plant them where you want them to grow....in well draining soil or they will rot. Once the seed heads fall apart when you brush your hands over the cone...the seeds are ready. Collect and scatter them in a bare spot in the garden. They need a few days of moisture and will germinate in about 1 to 2 weeks. They do need some cold to grow~ if you are growing them in the deeper south...you might try stratifying the seeds before planting them or planting container grown plants. Bt the way, rudbeckia will happily grow in containers and you can leave them in all year long. Well, thats true in my zone 7 garden;)
Garden ornament and the Susans

The Susans are getting thinned this year! I do adore the mass planting.But, it's time to thin or they will over run the salvia, liatris, coneflower, baptisia, rosemary, sedges, sedums, coreopsis, stokesia, grasses, veronicastrum, monarda, zinnias and other plants that are actually growing in the Sunny Susans bed! If you live nearby I will gladly share them with you. Let me know if you want seeds! Believe me, there are plenty to go around! They ought to be a hardy genetic stock!


Just in case you're tired of yellow...


I hope these last days of summer are filled with golden flowers and plenty of time in the garden.

Gail

36 comments:

  1. Yes, I have some of those golden Susans here. Our asters aren't blooming just yet. It won't be long.

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  2. The Susans residing in my red dirt land have gone kind of nuts this year because of the irrigation. I do deadhead them because I don't like the ugly seedheads midsummer. In the fall, I let them go, but I've been pulling up lots of seedlings in the beds. Love the Susans though. Wouldn't know what to do without their screaming presence.~~Dee

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  3. Gail,

    I think I need to give my rudbeckia fulgida the boot and plant rudbeckia hirta. From the look of your gorgeous displays, may I assume that the deer and rabbits leave them alone?


    Cameron
    PS Hope your tendonitis heals quickly. I know the "feeling" from years on computers and Blackberry thumb typing!

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  4. Cameron, Yes...not a bunny or deer ventures into the Susans...and we have them both in the neighborhood. Do you want seeds of the R hirta?

    gail

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  5. They look great as they are but you don't want them to take over your other plants. You should save the seed and bring it to the fall plant swap. They'll trade seeds and all kinds of stuff.

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  6. Gail! All those Susans are so beautiful! I particularly LOVE your first photo. Wow...a sea of gold. It couldn't be any prettier.

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  7. They are stunning displays of color and texture, I love what you are doing.

    Jen

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  8. Hi Gail, I love them as much as you do. I have a new one this year but it's an annual. Rudbeckia triloba, new to me and I already love it. Not as carefree as goldstrum (had to stake it) but love the bloom.
    Marnie

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  9. Marnie, You are going to love the triloba...really! It grows naturally all around the woods here in Nashville...Sometimes it needs staking but most of the time it seems happy. gail

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  10. Gail,
    I couldn't imagine a summer without Susans!I can't believe Summer will be gone so soon.--Randy

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  11. I love all your beautiful Susans, Gail do you know the botanical name?
    Great photos especially the first one, kind of wild and crazy...I like that.

    xoxo Tyra

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  12. I never tire of yellow and golds. Though it is funny that inside my house most of it is in shades of greens and blues and only one room in yellow-that will change soon. I just realized that. Nevermind, I'm digressing. Gotta get busy so I can some see those Susans in person! They are glorious!

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  13. Odd, the difference a wet summer makes. Last year in August, I had great wads of Susans at the south end of the long rock bed.

    This August, there are NO Susans -- they left in early July. There are masses of reseeded Melampodium happily providing a different yellow this year, huge things.

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  14. Tyra, Hello there! Yes they are Rudbeckia hirta ...the species not a named variety. I am glad you like them~gail

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  15. Dear Gail, your susans are just the most cheering wonderful flowers ever! I love the way they greet visitors at the street and keep on popping up in the other beds as one peruses your gardens. Thanks my dear for the link love too. I can see now that my problem is with the fulgida growing here, not your hirta. We will see to it that hirta gets planted too. Have fun tonight! :-)
    Frances

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  16. That is a lovely bed Gail....so bright and sunny. I have planted some susan's and so far the rabbits have not touched them. Hopefully next year I will see those lovely sunny blooms....

    Where did the summer go.....it seems the blink of an eye and we are nearly at autumns door.......

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  17. Gail, your susans are beautiful! It looks like a field of gold in front of your house!!I'll love golden yellow. Rudbeckia hirta is so on my list!!

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  18. Gail your bed of Susans is magnificent. I can't get over how beautiful it is. I love your garden ornament too.

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  19. What a pretty bunch of Susan's and very helpful information on growing them, too!

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  20. Gail, I love the masses of Susans. What a joy it must be to see them swaying in the breeze. But I know what you mean about thinning them out. I am going to have to do that with the coneflowers. They are overtaking the 2 beds I have them in. It breaks the heart, but must be done. :) I did transplant some seedlings earlier this summer to other beds to spread them around a little.

    How are you doing? You haven't said anything about your hand in a while. Hope you are doing better. There's lots to do this fall.

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  21. Gail, are you interested in mailing some seeds to Illinois? I'll send you some Canadian columbine seeds in return!

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  22. RambleOnRose, I will gladly send you seeds! It will be a bit longer...send me all pertinent info via email...my address is on the side bar...gail

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  23. Hi Beckie, I am so glad you like the Susans...need seed? It is hard to edit, but so necessary once in a while...it's like that in and out of the garden. I cleaned out a closet today...what a mess;) My thumb is better~~ I did have a steroid injection that helped, but, too much of any repetitive action seems to annoy the joint! So I try not to type too much...sigh!
    How are you my friend? gail

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  24. Hi Gail, I almost asked you if you thought Susans were beautiful! ha! But they are. I shared a whole huge vase of them with friends today. What a joy.

    Is your last photo a variety of Painted Daisy?

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  25. Oh, they're beautiful, Gail. Like a sunny prairie under your trees!

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  26. Some sprakling yellows there Gail! Quite a mass effect. The last pic reminds me of the aster I showed, and also your question – the 'Monch' was in one garden, and the orange in another – but they would have looked quite stunning together!

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  27. Fabulous post! I'm linking to it on my website page for what you call Susans. Susan

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  28. Well, thank you Susan Harris! I know that the Susans are the state flower of Maryland. You must get a chuckle from The Susans' references! gail

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  29. You've got that massed planting for effect thing down. It looks lovely. I still haven't figured how I could work that shade of yellow into my garden during the summer. It works better with the shades of autumn here.

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  30. Thanks everyone for stopping by and leaving your always great and supportive comments! You are the best...gail

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  31. So your yellows are taking over. Funny, I was just noticing that my front yard is too lavender right now and needs more pink or peach or something - maybe some coneflowers or dahlias mixed in next year? My walker's low catmint is STILL going strong - hasn't been without blooms since May - and the Salvia farinacea and lavender verbena are blooming. May Night salvia and campanula are blooming in the west bed, but the daylilies are mostly done. It will be fun to plot all winter for more late-summer color next year.

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  32. What a beautiful planting of black-eyed susans! They have always been one of my favorites and you have most certainly done them justice. Thanks to these gorgeous photos I just might have to plant some more this fall!

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  33. They're gorgeous Gail, and it will be fun to see how the bed looks after you've edited.

    I'm glad your thumbs are feeling better. Hope they continue to recover. In the meantime thank goodness for cortisone. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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  34. They look so beautiful in such numbers - a real eyeful. I need to expand my one or two plants. what an inspiration!

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  35. Thanks for the information on the Susans and butterflies. I think that is a duskywing. I saw some last year, but haven't this year. I saw a number of checkerspots last year, too, but don't remember if I have seen any this year.

    My black eyed Susans had a disease on them last year, so I divided them as soon as they came up this spring to thin them, and they all have dark spots on the leaves. They are full of blooms, though. Do you know anything about that? (Wait until your thumb is better before answering. I should do a search on it to see if I should be digging them up.)

    Take care,
    Sue

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  36. Yellow can be seen from far away and I do love the big impression yellow groupings make, and Susans excel at that!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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