Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’
So, here we are coming in to October, proper autumnal weather and all of the leaves around us are either turning beautiful orange/red or falling off and covering the lawn. Soon we will have bare branches and flowers will be a down to a minimum few as we await the delights of spring and a return to colour.
Having said that, as I look down my garden now there is still a plethora of plants in bloom and bringing much needed colour and life to the beds and borders. The sunflowers are standing tall, the three dwarf roses are full of buds and open flowers, the lavendar is still vivid mauve and grasses are awash with flame coloured leaves and flowers. I’ve never had so much in flower at this time of year and it’s wonderful to see.
In amongst all of this however there is one plant that it currently dominating the lower levels and filling in the gaps left behind by the Astrantia, Helleniums and Coreopsis that have all come to a natural end. It’s the Rudbeckia.
I started adding this to the garden last year to fill some gaps and have something that would hold it’s own against the miscanthus and other grasses. I’ve always liked Echinacea and Rudbeckia and although I’ve had limited success with the former, the latter has really taken off. So much so that I put another two plants in this year at the base of the sunflowers to give some low level interest.
It’s long, slender petals are delicate, but I wouldn’t necessarily call this an elegant flower. It’s mop of large foliage along with the multiple flower heads, I think, make this a rather scuffy looking plant. But that’s not a bad thing. I’m not growing it for elegance, I’ve got other things that give me that. I’m growing it to fit in with the garden and help give me a more natural feel. And that is something it does perfectly.
There is something majestic about the Echinaceas, something that makes them stand out on their own, they are somehow just magnificent without effort. The Rudbeckia on the other looks like it just got out of bed and dragged it’s arse in to work. It’s more the court jester to the Echinacea’s royalty. And that’s it’s charm. It positively bursts with energy and brings a smile to the face. Lets face it, at this time of year you need as much of that as you can get with sun rising later and setting earlier.
I don’t want to sound like I’m being to harsh on this little fella, I do love it. It’s easy to grow, even in my heavy clay soil it seems to thrive with original plants from last year having tripled in size, and the new ones developed from a small 1ltr pot in to lush and colourful plants this year, full of flower.
The foliage forms a clump of long, broad leaves that give you a lot of ground cover, and from this come the more spindly stems that carry the flower heads, multiple on each stalk. In total it stands at about 60cm at it’s highest point, but I believe it can grow up to around 1m. Spread wise it’s hard to say, currently they seem to be around 30-40cm, however if last years are anything to go by this might extend more when it comes back next year.
Goldstrum has been innundated with Hoverflies and some small bees, but doesn’t seem to be of interest particularly to the bumblebees in the garden. I’ve got enough other things for them though so I’m not too bothered by this.
This is a jolly plant to have mixed in and repeated throughout the bed, despite seeming a bit harsh on it’s character, that is the reason I love having it the garden. I’m not a formal gardener, like I’m not a formal person, so the scruffy and down to earth are always welcome here. I shall be adding some more Rudbeckia to the garden, but I’m going to go for a different colour – I run a risk of being over-run with yellow, maybe something like Prairie Glow or Cherry Brandy, just to add some deeper colours in to the mix.