DSC_0007I know it’s not much of a plant at this stage, more of a box really, but inside is a bit of the horticultural future…..apparently! We are all familiar with Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ and R. var. ‘Deamii’ and have probably had a brush with the larger flowered and more colourful annual Rudbeckia hirta in the form of ‘Marmalade’ or ‘Green Eyes’ or similar. We are also probably all familiar with Echinacea purpurea and have discovered that only the species is truly hardy; the myriad cultivars I have been suckered into buying have been hopeless and die in their first winter…too wet in the UK. They need long, dry, cold winters as they get in the mid western United States to survive.  My friend Rob Cole at Meadow Farm Nursery is selecting open pollinated variants and testing them for the factors required in a British garden worthy plant and is pretty close to releasing a couple on the market but, in the meantime, the Echibeckia has been introduced from the United States to satisfy our desire for a hardy, early and long flowering perennial that is hardy and disease resistant. As the name implies, it is an intergeneric cross between Rudbeckia hirta and Echinacea purpurea. So what’s in the box????????DSC_0009

Certainly well packaged by Hayloft Plants; arrived safe and well grown……DSC_0010

far bigger than expected, at least 25cm high and one even beginning to flower!DSC_0012

However, we are going to have to wait until next summer to find out a) has it survived and b) was it worth it!

Rudbeckia Highlight

31082013544This was the highlight of my day on Saturday, which is saying something because I had just been to the Hardy Plant Society meeting and enjoyed the very humorous  Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers identifying and discussing the merits of beautiful, weird and wonderful plants and flowers with the extremely knowledgeable members of the Western Counties Group. I had to leave early at lunchtime and on my way back I passed this fabulous clump of Rudbekia laciniata in a cottage garden.