Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Touch of Goldsturm

Goldsturm rudbeckias are among the easiest of all perennials to grow and they make a statement like none other when in full bloom.  These are commonly called "Black-eyed Susans" though this is a hybrid cultivar that makes much better plants and larger flowers than the wild variety.  The flowers start in July and continue for at least several weeks atop a bushy plant that has a pleasant shape.

The plant is so bulletproof that everyone should grow them.  They look good even when not in bloom, mix well with many other plants, and add great color to a mixed bed or border.  Butterflies are attracted to them as well.  They will slowly spread and can be divided every three years or so.  You can also plant the seeds, though they won't be exactly like the mother plant.  They prefer full, hot sun but will tolerate some shade.  They will grow in any but soggy soil and are virtually pest free.  The stems are also long enough to make this a nice cut flower for indoor bouquets too.  Such a winner of a plant deserves all the accolades it gets.  Highly recommended for everyone!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Send Now Prosperity"

The title of this blog entry is from Psalms 118:25 in the Bible, for those who are curious.  Prosperity is the name of this clustering, white rose.  It is one of the hybrid musk roses developed in the early 1900's by Joseph Pemberton.

This is the only whole bush shot I have at the moment.  It shows just how prolific the blooms are on this plant when it is in full flush.  The plant, like most hybrid musks, is either an arching bush or a short climber that blooms in flushes throughout the season.

You can see just how huge the bloom clusters often are.  The fragrance can be wafting and noticeable when Prosperity is at full flush.  I really noticed the fragrance when first coming across this rose at the Gardens of the American Rose Society in Shreveport a couple of years ago.  That is what convinced me to get this rose.

Because of the pure white beauty of this rose, it is highly recommended as a wedding rose.  Cut a whole cluster for a wonderful bouquet.

The leaves are dark green, somewhat small, and pretty resistant to disease.  I don't spray and this rose has remained largely blackspot-free for me.

Sometimes the blooms open up more.  They also have a pink tinge if the weather is cloudy or cooler.

The canes of this rose are fairly lax and don't get super long.  I think that makes this one of the best candidates for a pillar rose.  Many other climbers either get too long for a pillar or they have too stiff of canes.  Like other hybrid musks, this one reportedly takes more shade than most roses, so it would be a great candidate for an area that gets partial shade.

I really love white roses and this is one of the best for my area.  My only complaint against this rose is just how hard it is to deadhead so many blooms!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Wonderful Shasta Daisy

Nothing says "cottage garden" like Shasta daisies.  They are beloved the world around and are the favorite flower of many people.  The one I grow is the cultivar "Becky."  It is the best variety for the South and is renowned for taking more heat and humidity than most other daisies.  It is also great about not getting too tall and floppy.

The plant grows into a bushy clump that gets about 2' tall and about the same wide.  They like well-drained, sunny spots.  The blooms start in May at my house and continue for a couple of months.  They will bloom longer if deadheaded regularly.  Don't let them go long without water during the growing season.  On the other hand, in the winter they will die if left soggy.

My plant is growing in a corner by my fence.  It will be ready to divide and spread around this fall.  You can divide them every three years or so when the clumps get large.  The blooms grow on long stems making for great bouquets, so be sure to pick plenty of them.  Butterflies and bees also appreciate all types of daisies.