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A Final Blast Of Autumn Colour – for Sep. 16, 2010

Wow! – the word used in seed catalogues to describe the display put on by the showy Rudbeckia for impressive scenes in the garden, and for cut arrangements.

Start annual Rudbeckias, or gloriosa daisies, from seed next year to bloom continuously throughout the summer and well into fall. Similar to the native Prairie Rudbeckias, they thrive in sunny locations and well-drained Prairie soil, looking best when they are grown in groups to give a wildflower look. Many will self-sow and give bloom the following year.

Marmalade is a favourite of mine. Bushy stems grow up to 75 cm (30 inches) tall with 10-cm (four-inch) blooms from midsummer throughout the fall. Deep-golden petals surround large, dark disk centres.

Irish Spring has 15-cm (six-inch) deep-golden-yellow blooms with eye-catching green centres on 80-cm (32-inch) plants.

The huge primrose-yellow 13-cm (five-inch) blooms on Prairie Sun surround light-green cone centres on 90-cm (three-foot) bushy plants.

Chim Chiminee is an unusual Rudbeckia to try with different col-ours of quilled petals in bronze, yellow and mahogany on stiff, strong stems.

Perennial varieties of Rudbeckias such as Goldstrum and Giant Double are winter hardy for the Prairies and will live for several years. Purchase potted plants from nurseries, or start seed indoors in early spring for annual Rudbeckias. Most will bloom the first year.

Annual or perennial, once you’ve grown these beauties, you’ll never want to be without them.

– Lillian Deedman writes from Killarney, Manitoba

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