Prarie Sun Rudbeckia

January 4, 2010

Rudbeckia hirta flowers are also known as Gloriosa daisies, or Black-Eyed Susans.  This specific variety, Prarie Sun, is an annual where I live, but a biennial in warmer zones.  I start mine from seed, but have seen them offered as starts in nurseries in recent years.  Letting them reseed in the garden is an option also, but note that if you have more than one type of Rudbeckia hirta planted, the seedlings can be a cross.  Easy to grow and low maintenance, the presence of this flower in any bouquet spreads cheer and happiness.

The green center is quite different from other Rudbeckias, and lends it to be a bit more versatile for various styles of arrangements.  The size of the flower varies, but are typically 4 – 6 inches across.

Growing information:

Height – 2 1/2 to 3 feet

Light requirements:  grow in full sun

Bloom time – mid summer through fall

Hardiness –  biennial in zones 5 – 8

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blooming cherry brandy 1

This new introduction of annual Rudbeckia that I grew this past summer was well worth the effort.  There was a variation of colors, with most blooms being a dark maroon color, but a few red centers with yellow tipped petals –  a very interesting look!  The seeds were easy to start indoors, and performed well in the garden, despite an extremely dry summer.

Growing information:

Height – 24 inches, blooms 3 – 4 inches across

Grow in full sun

Annual – purchase as starts or start seed indoors; do not cover seed as light aids in germination.  Plant outside after frost free date.

blooming snow on mtn

The variegated green and white of this annual euphorbia make it an interesting cut flower and a wonderful filler.  Once cut, the stems bleed a milky sap that can irritate skin, so gloves should be worn when harvesting.  After cutting, the stems need to be seared; dip the stem ends in a small pot of boiling water for 20-30 seconds, then proceed with conditioning.  Has a long vase life.

Growing information:

Height – 36 to 40 inches

Annual – can be started indoors or direct seeded outdoors.

Harvest about 100 days after planting, foliage variegation occurs when days begin to shorten.

blooming rudbeckia cherokee sunset 1

I love growing these annual colorful Black-Eyed Susans, each bloom can be a little different color and shape, giving me many happy surprises in the garden!  Many varying shades of yellow, gold, orange and red, with single, double, and mum type petals.  Cherokee Sunset rudbeckia are easy to start from seeds indoors, and I usually get some volunteer starts in the garden, too. Terrific as a cut flower!

Growing information:

Prefers full sun

Height:  20 – 24 inches, flowers 3-4 inches across

Bloom time – mid to late summer, depending on when seed is started

blooming rudbeckia cherokee sunset 2

Ornamental Ruby Silk Grass

August 19, 2009

Ruby silk grass – Eragrostis tef

blooming ruby silk grass

This annual is great for containers or for cutting; the draping, wavy red plumes add interest and movement to bouquets and containers.  Also works well as a dried flower, staying colorful when dried.

Growing information:

Very east to start from seed indoors, available from johnnyseeds.com.

Height – 18 – 24 inches

Prefers full sun to mostly sunny

Long bloom time – mid summer and on

Cats love to play in this, my kittens have all but destroyed my plants!

blooming annual gaillardia

I started this annual from seed indoors last spring, and now they are showing off in my garden and vases!  So far each blossom has a two-tone color effect, making them very striking and interesting.  Butterflies also adore this flower!

Growing information:

Start indoors for earlier blooming, or sow outdoors after soil has warmed.

Grow in full sun, prefers adequate moisture.

Height:  20 inches

Bloom time:  Mid summer to fall

Fresh bouquet ~ 7-20-09

July 21, 2009

bouquet 7-20-09

I had breakfast guests coming so nipped to the garden to pick this quick bouquet of lilies, dill, and poppies.  It took less than five minutes from start to finish!  The old pitcher I found at a thrift store for just a couple of bucks.  Are your lilies and poppies blooming?