My House in August
Radiant yellow daisies dominate my August gardens. The wanton, golden Showy Black-eyed Susan, the color of marigolds, is everywhere, anywhere its seeds have found a bit of bare dirt in which to sprout.
Every year I think I have way too many Showy Black-eyed Susan–until August, when their ravishing blossoms fill my sunny gardens. The golden-petaled daisies with chocolate centers bloom from mid-to-late July until mid-September on a bushy plant 2-3’ tall and up to 4’ wide. Rare in the wild, it is Indigenous to wet, calcareous habitats; it nevertheless thrives in ordinary garden soil. Due to a shallow root system, it is not, however, drought-resistant–a dry summer without water input will cause severe wilting and even death.
Showy Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia speciosa var. Sullivantii) is not the same as Goldsturm Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’)) commonly sold in garden centers. In my experience, ‘Goldsturm’ is highly susceptible to a disease that turns the leaves black during a rainy summer and may kill the plant.
Ribbons of Black-eyed Susan and Prairie Dropseed edge a driveway.
This was my inspiration and from where my Black-eyed Susan’s came from. Absolutely brilliant design by Kerry Leigh for Marianne Nelson–the very first Prairie Garden in Elgin.
View from my Front Door This Week
Showy Black-eyed Susan and Prairie Baby’s Breath in bloom
Along the West Sidewalk by my House
Showy Black-eyed Susan with False Sunflower, Yellow Coneflower, Rosin Weed, Prairie Dock, and Prairie Blazing Star in bloom.
Intimate hide-away in my side yard–only a few feet from the public sidewalk, but completely private. Showy Black-eyed Susan with Purple Coneflower and Joe Pye Weed. The giant leaves in front are those of Prairie Dock.
You may have thrown up your hands and said, “That’s way too much garden for me. buying all those plants would be too expensive and the upkeep! I could never keep up.”
Native plants may be purchased from Native Plant Nurseries and from plant sales held by Wild Ones and other conservation groups. And may I modestly add, from me along with a design for your new garden. Or friends may give you plants–in the fall I have a dig-it-yourself party for Wild Ones members and for neighbors.
And something we seem to have forgotten: plants produce flowers and–here’s the part we have been forbidden to let happen–flowers produce seeds, which produce new plants that look just like the ones that produced the seeds. Your garden will fill up, almost effortlessly. Yes. you will have to water and weed somewhat for the first 2 years, and your plants will appear awkward at first, but after that you’re home free. You won’t have to water or weed, deadhead, fertilize, or use pesticides. Too good to be true? Gardening with nature really works. The only maintenance I have is to cut its exuberance back from along my sidewalks (and I have a small lawn to mow).