"black-eyed Susans" --- poison free organic gardening Victoria BC
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poison free gardening, Victoria BC, black-eyed Susans


 

Black-eyed Susans


rudbeckia hirta
Big, bold and beautiful, five sun-splashed, golden Black-eyed Susans dwell in their dark green antique bottle vase and laugh at me in their usual exuberant way as I sit at the computer trying to write an article. It is useless, it can't be done. I don't know why, but the Rudbeckias, or "Rudebeckias" - as my daughter calls them - always appear to be laughing so irresistibly with the sheer joy of life to me.

Since the Rudbeckias splash so much golden cheer around the garden until heavy rain or frost, it is just as well, as there is little but a bit of cleaning up and harvesting to do in the vegetable garden around this time of year. And so, there is nothing better to write about, at least in this gardener's mind.

And since the single types make excellent cut flowers - they last up to three weeks in the vase, whereas the doubles wilt on their first day in the vase - there is no better way than this to bring the exuberant cheer of the Rudbeckias from the outside into the inside.

There are several kinds of Rudbeckias - and all are glorious - hence their other popular name "Gloriosa Daisy". Hardy, vigorous and drought resistant, all are very undemanding and extremely easy to grow in almost any soil, as long as they get mostly sun.

Rudbeckia hirta is a short lived perennial which will blossom in its first year from seed sown in early spring. It grows to about 3 or 4 feet tall on clusters of tall hairy stems, bearing 5 inch diameter single daily blossoms in shades of yellow, orange, russet or mahogany, often banded or brushed. Those are my absolute favorites; the sheer beauty of those golden yellow petals brushed every so perfectly with a touch of mahogany always blows me away. How do they know how to do that?

Rudbeckia lacinata is a very hardy, heat tolerant perennial, growing to about 6 feet tall, and spreading from underground stems, sometimes aggressively so, bearing double white or bright yellow blossoms in summer and fall. Excellent tall border plant. Can be easily divided and replanted in spring or fall.

All are somewhat 'rustic' in character and look their very best in a 'rustic' setting - and there is nothing more beautiful than bunches of Black-eyed Susans in front of a rustic rail fence.

Cut for cut flowers often, as they will stop blooming when allowed to go to seed - and let this glorious daisy light up your home with its exuberant cheer.



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