The last week has seen an explosion of rudbeckia hirta on the farm! (Along with dahlias - but that's a different post!) I had never really grown these until this year, when I planted 100 feet of them. I guess I tend to do things all or nothing! Below is how the plants look in the row.
But the magic happens in the studio, out of the harsh sunlight of the field. Rudbeckia hirta goes from an "okay, I guess" plant to a MUST GROW plant!
Many of these flowers come from rudbeckia hirta "Cherokee Sunset Mix" and "Sahara." It's easy to group by color, or use them together in a mix.
I'm also really enjoying rudbeckia "Chim Chiminee" and "Cherry Brandy," which are pictured below. I love the way Chim's petals stick straight out! They are such a cool shape.
On all these varieties, I also love the chocolate-colored centers. It is such a rich but delicate color at the same time. And we have so many flowers with yellow centers, it's nice to have a little visual contrast! I think that is why I love pairing rudbeckia with dahlias - they can sometimes look like the inverse of one another.
I hope my swooning over rudbeckia hirta will help you appreciate this often overlooked flower! It has been super easy to grow, and I've listed all the varieties I planted here. You can find these varieties at Johnny's Seeds, which is one of my favorite seed companies. I started them in the spring, and planted them out after the last frost. They have survived quite a lot of neglect - from sitting in tiny cell trays on my back porch, to not getting weeded enough - and are thriving anyway. They can also perennialize for some people, and self-sow. And the bees love them. Such a wonderful thing to add to your garden!
If you'd like to see these gorgeous stems in a bouquet, you can always sign up for the flower CSA. My CSA customers are getting spoiled with gigantic bouquets lately, and I'll definitely be using more rudbeckia soon!