Last fall I wrote about the jungle-to-garden make-over I’d just started at the corner of Westway and Ridge Roads.
To refresh, here’s what it looked like. I passed it every day and let’s just say it didn’t help my mood. I jumped at the chance to do a make-over – with donated plants and months of weeding.
A year later here’s the same spot, with Black-eyed Susans blooming their hearts out. They were all donated by Mary Lou Williamson, who recently donated even more of them. She’d called out to me from her passing car one day to tell me the garden “needs more color!” and right she was.
Mary Lou’s not alone in appreciating this cheerful perennial – the Rubeckia fulgida – that also happens to be the Maryland State Flower.
Old Greenbelters seem to love it – there are patches of Susans all over town. (And not just in the plant world, either. I’ve never lived someplace with so many Susans!)
So I think of this as our Signature Flower of Summer. I’m not sure that’s an official thing but it should be.
Hands down, the most dramatic display of Black-Eyed Susans is along Gardenway between Ridge and Crescent. Many GHIers contribute to the effect, and prayer flags add to the festivities.
The common area in 5 Court Ridge sports a growing patch of Susans that bloom with Sedums and a Crepe myrtle in the same island bed.
Growing Black-Eyed Susans
There are plenty of reasons this plant is so popular here, in addition to its cheerfulness and the fact that it’s native to our region. It seeds around quickly and easily to create nice masses or sweeps at no extra cost. The blooms seem to last forever. After its first season in a new spot it’s quite drought-tolerant.
Just be careful moving them – they don’t respond well to being moved and may need frequent watering for a while, even twice a day when it’s hot and sunny. Or move them when it’s cooler and cloudier.
And admittedly they do need some sun but don’t believe the “full sun” requirement that’s often indicated for this plant. The happily blooming ones in my garden don’t get more than three hours a day, so give them chance if you have a spot with at least that much sun, especially if you’re getting them for free.
How about the Other Seasons?
Spring is easy – Greenbelt is covered with azalea and daffodil blooms then. But for fall, nothing comes to mind. So come October, I’ll be on the look-out around town for plants that brighten our days and I’ll report back.