Not so very long ago this garden was almost all about the Susans. Rudbeckia fulgida didn't mind the shallow soil that was crowded by limestone bedrock and spread by seed and rhizome everywhere. What was not to love about them. They were a beautiful mass of golden color from mid summer to fall; they never crowded out the day lilies that lived here first; and, they made me smile when ever I stepped into the garden or pulled into the drive.
I loved the genus Rudbeckia so much that I invited all the species plants (and a few cultivars) that were endemic to Middle Tennessee to join R fulgida.
The first to join the party was R laciniata...a tall droopy beauty with fabulous presence.
Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' was next.
The glorious gloriosa daisies~ R hirta cultivars~'Prairie Sun' and
R hirta 'Cherry Brandy' have stayed the course.
Another choice small flowered rudbeckia that I chanced upon a few years ago (blooming earlier than usual) is R fulgida var fulgida. This is a keeper plant and I highly recommend it to any of you folks not so crazy about Susan yellow!
You're laughing and wondering what ever do I see that makes this plant different from Miss Goldie! Trust me, she is stellar, with shiny, deep green foliage and smaller, refined blooms. Much finer than Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'.
She's a petite flower on a tall stem. This rudbeckia, like all the others, provides seeds in the winter for birds and nectar for butterflies from late summer through frost.
But, pollinators and gardeners need more than yellow flowers. To the mix of beautiful Rudbeckias I've added New York Ironweed,
the Joes and Purple Coneflowers,
Coreopsis 'Star Cluster',
and the exotic Lantanas that bloom their best when the heat is really turned on.
The Susans are clearly Clay and Limestone's summer sizzling beauties and if you've heard me say this once, you've probably heard me say it a dozen times: I cannot imagine gardening without them. But, now, you'll hear me say, I cannot imagine gardening without the Susans and all their friends!
Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. It's celebrated on the 15th of every month, when garden bloggers from all over the world share their garden blooms. So head over to Carol's to take the Mr Linky magic carpet ride to more gardens than you can imagine visiting in one day! This is my August 2012 contribution. I hope you enjoy the Susans and friends.
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.