So far, so good

OK, let me see some ID.
OK, let me see some ID.

One week in and I haven’t killed anything yet. This is a good sign. I can’t say there weren’t some close calls: Rudbeckia foliage breaks easily, and I am an oafish fumbler even when I am not wearing gardening gloves. I am also on the large side, and I tend to step on plants as I work among them. Discovering a newly planted ‘Cherokee Sunset’ under my shoe, I let out a 3/4 of an oath. This caused my six-year-old daughter, who had hidden herself in the foliage of a magnolia about five yards away, to ask innocently, “Son of a what, Daddy?”


When it comes to gardening skill, all occasions do inform against me. I have already told you of my lack of grace. My planting session also had me dealing with my inability to not plant in straight lines. Try as I might to stagger my planting holes, when I step back, all I see are rows. Sure I planted the individuals from my Bluestone Perennial 3-packs in triangles. But one triangle next to another turned into a couple of straight lines.

     I also am a terrible garden record keeper. This project requires me to know what is planted where, when it blooms, and so on. As I was planting, I was smart enough to make a crude pencil drawing on a torn envelope of what went where, but now I don’t know where that bit of envelope is. Of course I put the tags with the plants, but I wouldn’t put it past one of my children, in a burst of helpfulness, to pick up all of those white things messing up Daddy’s garden.

     If anyone is reading this, please remind me to make another diagram before it is too late.



Rudbeckias are native to the prairie, so that is my excuse for not watering them.

All plants did get a nice mulch of leaf mold.

I predict that I have another two weeks before I start getting impatient for blooms.

View Comments


  1. BillyGoodnick 05/08/2010

    Steve: I've figured out a way to avoid making mistakes in the garden - I don't have a garden. Well, actually, having designed them for other people for a few decades, I like to say that I'm the father of many gardens--they just live somewhere else and I get visitation rights.

    While I've got you here: Make another diagram before it is too late.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/17/2010

    I suspect the straight line impression will lessen as your plants get larger and fill in to make a mass of wonderful color. I try to overcome the linear look by going with a drift approach Have one or two singles that extend into a rounding larger number and then taper off again. The Cherokee Sunset is a great selection. Enjoy!

  3. tatwood 05/17/2010

    Rudbeckia triloba is a biennial that self-sows prolifically. It also has a variant form - see here:

    It is very easy to grow and makes a good cut flower.It is quite tall, so it works best toward the back of perennial borders. I am also quite fond of Rudbeckia 'Prarie Sun,' which makes another good cut.

  4. kattmandu 05/17/2010

    Living in Wyoming, some rudbeckias simply are not hardy here. I've had the best luck with "Rustic Colors" and "Autumn Colors" both very nice color blends of gold, russett, terracotta, mahogany, and chocolate brown, and available as seeds at Pine Tree Farms ( Most rudbeckias are very easy to grow from seeds.

  5. judgehort 05/17/2010

    I have experience only with Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm', which I've grown in zones 5, 9 and 7, in that order. The jury is still out on zone 7, but 'Goldsturm' was pleasing in Zone 5, and ran like a maniac in Pacific Zone 9.

  6. bagpipegnat 05/18/2010

    Hey - I am in Atlanta GA. Been growing Rubeckia species here in our surburban garden for about 10 years and they are sooo happy in their beds. I love coming out to go to work early in the morning in the summer and looking at their happy faces with the dew on them. The blue tall salvia is a very nice accent with the yellow gold pedals.

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