Seeing Green (Irish Eyes)

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ Against A Brown Clematis Vine


Distressed from heat and drought the first yellow flowers of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ are opening with petals already streaked with brown. This cultivar gets its name from the green center.

A plant division taken last year is faring better than its parent near the garden’s southern entrance, where it waves above the four-foot gate.

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Yesterday I explored the garden and though the heat has been keeping the gardener away, there is activity in this ecosystem.


This morning a steady rain sounds against the roof. From the upstairs window I watch goldfinches dart between spent stalks of verbena and echinacea, supplying bright sunny color to the gray morning.

Early into the record-setting heat of July, the garden became quickly desiccated. The change was dramatic and yet, from the window there is green again in the garden. Plants stand refreshed. Will this rain be restorative? For a time I think so, but the rain stops.


July 3 – 8, 2012. This area of North Carolina set a record for having six consecutive days with temperatures above 100 degrees F. (Most days were hotter and heat indexes were around 110.)

July 8’s 105-degree day tied the record for highest temperature ever recorded for this area and beat the previous record of 103 set in 1977 for the date July 8.

Despite last Friday’s big thunder and wind event that sent two trees crashing down in the garden, July has been seriously hot and dry. That afternoon storm brought an hour of much needed rain, but the severe heat wave continued through the weekend. The heat wave finally broke on Monday leaving the area feeling noticeably cooler with highs in the mid-eighties, even bringing occasional, spotty showers.

Winter and spring were marked by abundant rainfall that left the garden lush and verdant. Rains stopped around mid-June while temperatures steadily rose. Early into July’s record-setting heat the garden responded by shutting down. Now rain is forecast for a couple of days.

8 thoughts on “Seeing Green (Irish Eyes)

  1. Cathy

    It is amazing how quickly the garden can recover if the rain doesn’t come too late. Our heat has also waned now, but we’ve had a strong breeze for a couple of days which dries the ground too.
    Your insect and butterfly photos are lovely. The weather doesn’t seem to bother the wildlife!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I scared off the dragonfly at first so was happy to spot him again later. I’ve not seen many of them at all this year. There have been numerous bees since early spring and now am starting to see many kinds of wasps. Very few butterflies so far.

  2. sandy

    I have been watching the weather down there. This has been one crazy year so far, and there is no telling how it will end. Irish Eyes is pretty in real life. I had only seen in the seed catalog. What I see of your garden looks good right now.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Sandy. I really need to do a lot of dead-heading and general cleanup but the garden always fizzles out this time of year. Things look fresh up your way. The weather has been crazy indeed–I really feel for people who are trying to make a living from crops against these odds.

      You might enjoy the Irish Eyes. I haven’t tried to grow it from seed, but I found it divides very well.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi. Many areas have suffered from severe weather this year, I feel like I need to quit complaining too, although I find it interesting to observe and record these things. Enjoy your day.


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