Tag Archives: Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Early July 2014

I have tried to grow Bachelor’s Buttons every few years without success, but this year things improved. A single plant surviving from an entire package of seeds shows yes, one can get results. If I were to water and tend them properly perhaps two next year? The sumptuous blue color is what I find appealing.

Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Boy’  (Bachelor’s Button, Cornflower)

Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Boy’ (Bachelor’s Button, Cornflower)

Unlike my experience with seeds, some perennials are terribly assertive and settle in without invitation, crowding out anything in the vicinity. On the left of the back staircase leading to the garden is a large section of Shasta Daisies that spread seemingly overnight from a small container purchased years ago. Some years I am simply delighted with anything that manages to limp along through our dry, hot and humid summers, but this year I find myself thinking these have to go someday.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

When the garden was just getting started I ordered a blue tall garden phlox, but a pink one is what was shipped.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

In the years before the fence was installed, deer would eat the flowers of this Phlox paniculata just as soon as they opened. It was maddening. Actually the fence is not tall enough to keep deer out if they decide they want a taste, so it still makes me nervous to have these phlox blooming; however, this is another plant that dug in its heels years ago and would not leave even when I tried pulling it all up.

It has made a comeback in several spots and so far the deer are dining elsewhere.  I have planned numerous other garden phlox such as ‘David’ but they are very short-lived, so it is a mystery why this one is so attached to the garden.  I am not positive of its name but think it is ‘Robert Poore’ perhaps, a mildew-resistant and heat tolerant phlox.

Looking toward the northern border - Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Looking toward the northern border – Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Behind the phlox is poorly sited butterfly bush that I pruned back hard in late winter. It turns out this is a dwarf so it does not get a chance to make much impact at the back of the border. It has not bloomed well in several years, but has more room this year to reach the sun after a couple of neighboring spartan junipers had to be removed. Its name is Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis Blue Butterfly Bush).

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)

One plant that has done well without taking over is Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes.’ It is right on schedule to brighten the southern corner of the house during July with its golden yellow flowers with green centers. Pollinators love this plant.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

This time of year the garden has lost its cohesiveness, but a few things keep determinedly plugging along. The garden very much needs rain.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2014

Northern Border View Facing West

Northern Border View Facing West

Yesterday was Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. Though it will be a day late I want to join in the monthly focus on foliage as early spring is a time of year when I especially enjoy the foliage in my garden.

Spring marks a joyful point in an incredible cycle of nature, one I experience with new wonder each year. Fresh growth and tender green hues rejuvenate my gardener’s spirit as the perennials emerge and the borders transform from mostly soil to mostly plants.

The northern border has filled in seemingly overnight after some nice warm days. Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint), trimmed heavily a few weeks ago to remove last year’s growth, makes a nice low plant for the front edge of the border. This border is filled with Iris germanica (Bearded iris), Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris) and Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris).

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint) and Iris in Northern Border

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) and Iris in Northern Border (looking toward west)

Below and to the right of the catmint is a path with a patch of mixed sedum. The sedum overwinters well and I will soon be relocating much of it to the devil’s strip between the sidewalk and street in front of our house where grass does not like to grow. (Architectural Review Board application was approved.)

Mixed Sedum

Mixed Sedum

In my garden there are lots of silvery leaved plants. I enjoy the color and texture of these Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and especially in early spring the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood) is beautiful.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Creeping Lemon Thyme overwintered in this pot along the southern side path. Stems of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) is aggressively exploring this bed.

Creeping Lemon Thyme and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Creeping Lemon Thyme and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Planted last spring Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) promises to perform better this year. It is looking vigorous, unlike last year.

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

A generous patch of woody-stemmed Chrysanthemum is a welcome sight, a pass-along plant from my garden mentor many years ago.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ will reach 6 feet tall but for now it makes a large clump of green near the gate of the southern entrance. I need to find time to divide this.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

To the right of the rudbeckia, just as the path turns the corner toward the gate to the main garden, sits a Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ loaded with buds after a heavy pruning in late winter.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Visit Christina at Garden of the Hesperides to see what foliage she is highlighting this month and find links to other participants.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2013

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and well into autumn, the garden overall remains fairly green. A few perennials are still flowering, but this topic is about signs of the season other than flowers.

The cones left standing after flower petals drop bring a new round of enjoyment to Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes.’ This plant bloomed from late June through September. Now its wide leaves and tall stalks continue to add height and interest to the garden’s Southern entrance.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Just inside the gate is a grouping of Dutch lavender that was heavily pruned back late last winter after it had become very overgrown and woody. The lavender did not bloom much this year but it filled out well and looks more shapely. I use this lavender as a small shrub against the foundation of the house.

Lavandula x intermedia 'Dutch' (Dutch Lavender)

Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

A small pot of Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) planted in the spring has yielded a good amount of growth.

I am experimenting with this ground cover  in the garden, but with an eye to using it as a partial replacement for grass in the front lawn strip between sidewalk and street, if it survives the winter. (And subject to Homeowners Association approval, unfortunately).

I cannot decide if I like it though—almost seems a bit weedy from afar. Up close I think the texture is wonderful and though flowers are not the focus for GBFD, Blue Star Creeper does actually bloom too. (Click image for close-up.)

This weekend a friend gave me some Elfin Thyme to try also. She has had great success with it in her street/sidewalk strip. Since I do not yet have approval for replanting the grass strip, I planted the Elfin Thyme yesterday in the meditation circle.  There now are three different kinds of Thyme there, on of which also has a small-textured leaf that reminds me of Elfin.

Thymus serpyllum 'Elfin' (Elfin Thyme) and Thyme sp.

Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’ (Elfin Thyme) and Thyme sp. in the meditation circle

In the northwest corner of the garden shockingly purple berries are now easily visible on the American beautyberry. This plant is still small but from others I have noticed lately, it may soon outgrow this spot.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her at Garden of the Hesperides to discover what foliage displays she and other garden bloggers are featuring today.

Early September Observations

On the first day of September a serendipitous sun shower in late afternoon was followed by a quite stormy evening. That night the garden received a refreshing inch of rain. Now a mere week has passed without rain, but the effect on the garden was immediate. All of the borders are browning, shriveling and retreating as plants lose their vigor.

Though the days are still warm, the nights are noticeably cooler and the amount of daylight is decreasing. Responding to these signals, the changes in length of day, temperature and moisture, the garden appears to be receding.

Rarely do I water the garden, but I would like to prolong this year’s flowers a few more weeks. With no rain in the forecast for another five days, I walked out soon after dawn to apply some selective relief. At that early time of day the neighborhood was luxuriously quiet, interrupted only by pleasant birdsong and rich tones from wind chimes catching a gentle breeze.

Cardinals and hummingbirds went on with business as I carried around the hose. As bees have been mostly absent this summer I was surprised to see a large number of bumblebees. Two American Goldfinches, brilliant yellow, each stood atop Purple Coneflower seedpods surveying the bounty.

With the watering done I walked the meditation circle, then used the camera to make notes of the morning.

There still are some flowers to enjoy. The garden has two Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ and one is completely spent, yet the other at the bottom of the southern side path continues to bloom profusely.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to Phlox Paniuclata, which thrived with all the rain this summer. No deer bothered jumping the fence to get to it either, a first in many summers.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)   'Robert Poore'  possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) ‘Robert Poore’ possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)   'Robert Poore'  possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) ‘Robert Poore’ possibly

Orange Coneflower is one of the plants that began sagging so much this week without water. One would expect this native plant to be more drought-tolerant than a week.

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Cleome bloomed well all summer. Though many have dried up and formed numerous seedpods, a few are just beginning to bloom.

Self-portrait with Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Self-portrait with Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Zinnias look bright and colorful against the back fence and draw butterflies to that corner of the garden.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Though many stalks and leaves are now brown, some foliage remains in good shape. Columbine, which had all been cut back after flowering, now has formed gentle mounds in (too) many places. Some of the leaves are taking on a slight reddish tinge.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Baptisia and Artemisia team up nicely along the southern side path. The rains this summer really brought the Baptisia along this year.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' and Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Autumn Joy Sedum began blooming abundantly this week, making its little section of the garden seem quite happy.

View of Mediation Circle with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

View of Mediation Circle with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

An August Pause

Zinnia With Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Zinnia With Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

A welcome drop in humidity cleared the haze from the sky and made the early morning air feel refreshingly cool.

We watched sections of the borders emerge from morning shadows as we lingered over coffee on the screened porch that overlooks the garden. Sunlight entering the garden spaces framed colorful vignettes. Wind chimes in the meditation circle repeatedly picked up the gentle breeze, echoing sweet tones.

Zinnias in the northwest corner continue to attract butterflies.

A white bearded Iris rebloomed this week bringing an unexpected treat.

Irish Eyes shine against the day’s deep blue morning sky.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Misty View From The Southern Side Garden

The Southern Side Garden hosts the plant of the moment—Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily). The delicate flowers began blooming last week and have multiplied each day.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

A light rain fell most of the day, but pulling into the driveway after an errand I spotted the enchanting plant near the entrance to the garden path and decided to ignore the misty shower long enough to get a picture or two.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Since spring this part of the garden has had little attention but a few reliable perennials and reseeding Cleome maintain interest.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) is a plant I have enjoyed for years, but I have yet to find a good location for it in this garden. It is not particularly thriving here along the Southern Path, but it does provide a few interesting, colorful flowers.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ has become a summer favorite and the drops of rain made its deep hues appear even richer. It blooms for a while, then takes a break. Perhaps the cooler weather agrees with it. Black and Blue overwinters here making it a very easy-care plant.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Near the entrance gate to the main garden Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ towers above the fence. Blooming since July, this Rudbeckia has made its finest show ever this year.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)-2

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily), foreground.  Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes,’ upper right background.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Almanac

Temperatures remained unseasonably cool by 10-15 degrees. At 7:00 pm it is 70°F.

Sensing A Shift

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)


In unguarded moments and despite the heat, a portent of autumn occasionally drifts through the air and into my consciousness. For now the garden remains green and lush, but the light is changing and days are shortening. I sense a seasonal shift.

For the last few weeks the garden has carried on without much tending, but I am beginning to feel its tug. A few hours of trimming and weeding this week will revive its most sagging aspects.

This has been a happy year for gardening. Phlox paniculata has brought color to the western border for seven weeks, confirming memories from my previous garden that given the absence of deer and drought, Garden Phlox is invaluable for the summer garden.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ has towered over the garden’s southern entrance most cheerfully since the end of June, though sadly few pollinators have been around this year to benefit.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

For several weeks now Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ has added its specific light green color and texture to the northern border. It seems primed to put on a good show of fall color.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

In the late summer of years when rains have been adequate, Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) begins a display of beauty and lemony fragrance. It is exciting then to note the first orchid-like flower has emerged. Raindrops coat the shiny leaves after a fleeting shower this afternoon.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)