Oct 052015

Colour this autumn has been unrivalled. The warmth from the sun and the dry season have combined to extend the floral season. Take a last walk through the student plots within the demonstration garden. The fresh intake of horticulture students are on the cusp of grubbing everything out to prepare their plots for fresh sowings. Absorb the scent drifting off the Alyssum, a mass of white flowers. Marvel at the tall Cosmos that have not blown apart this year. The Sweet Pea towers still have pickings that would fill vases in the home, albeit with shorter stems. The real stars are two cultivars of Rudbeckia hirta, short lived tender perennials that are best treated as half hardy annuals; sowing, growing, flowering and composting each year. R. ‘Irish Spring’, with yellow petals and a green centre, the heavy morning dew settles on the foliage magnifying the leaf hairs. R. ‘Aries’ with a brown centre and markings radiating out on the petals.

Rudbeckia 'Aries'

Rudbeckia ‘Aries’

Rudbeckia 'Irish Spring'

Rudbeckia ‘Irish Spring’

Rudbeckia 'Irish Spring' foliage with autumn morning dew

Rudbeckia ‘Irish Spring’ foliage with autumn morning dew


Sep 022013

Plants raised from seed in March, grown on under cover until the cold spring ended and planted out during May to form this year’s successful potager.

In the attached image can be seen: Rudbeckia hirta ‘Prairie Sun’, Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Boy’, Kale ‘Redbor’, Hordeum jubatum, Cosmos ‘Purity’ Other species and cultivars are growing through the circular bed and attracting all manner of pollinating insects.

Colour, form and thus combination make for a good planting display. Movement is the third aspect, often missing, from a planting scheme. With the two grasses, (Hordeum and Pennisetum villosum ‘Cream Falls’), both light of stem, the slightest breeze adds movement to this sucessful planting scheme.

Potager, 26th August 2013. Photo by Tony Garn

Potager, 26th August 2013

Pennisetum villosum 'Cream Falls' . Photo by Tony Garn

Pennisetum villosum ‘Cream Falls’

Sep 092008
Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne'

Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’

Amongst the tallest growing herbaceous plants is Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’, also known in the trade by the English translation, ‘Autumn Sun’. This old cultivar is really only suited to the larger garden, bulking into an extensive clump and touching 3 metres in height. It is often thought to be a cultivar of R. nitida or a cross between R. nitida and R. laciniata, both native to North America.

The petals or ray florets appear curled, pushing taller resembling fingers surrounding the mass of disc florets. Opening as a flat ray, the petals are a bright yellow. As these fade and drop, the cone gains a tint of colour. This is provided by the opening of the anthers, a deep purple in colour and best appreciated through a hand lens. At this stage a slight scent can be detected to attract insects for the pollination process.

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’

Suited to the smaller garden is Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldstrum’, which grows to a more modest 1.2m but still bulks up strongly, as the image shows. This reliable member of the genus provides a storm of golden colour, as the translation recognises.

Its golden yellow ray florets are held on tough, angular, hairy stems. This is lignin production at its best, holding the mass of colour upright through heavy rain and storms.

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’

Which brings us to the rainfall total for August 2008 – a whopping 202.3mm, the highest amount recorded in any month since RBGE started recording weather data. As can be imagined with this amount of rain, sunshine levels for the month are also low at 79.1 hours, with no sun recorded on 7 days; that is almost a quarter of the month with no sun during a period whe we would have expected the bulb collection to receive a summer baking! For more information, see our Edinburgh Weather Station.