Rudbeckia “Black Eyed Susan” – August Flower of the Month

What’s in a Name: Legend has it the name Black Eyed Susan came from a poem of the post-Elizabethan era entitled, “Black Eyed Susan,” written by John Gay, a very famous poet of the day.

The name Rudbeckia was given by Carolus Linnaeus in honor of his teacher at Uppsala University in Sweden, Professor Olof Rudbeck the Younger (1660-1740), and his father Professor Olof Rudbeck the Elder (1630-1702), both of whom were botanists. Rudbeckia is one of at least four genera within the flowering plant family Asteraceae whose members are commonly known as coneflowers; the others are Echinacea, Dracopis and Ratibida.

About the Plant: Rudbeckia is a plant genus in the sunflower family. The species are commonly called coneflowers or Black Eyed Susans; all are native to North America and many are cultivated in gardens for their showy yellow or gold flower heads.

The species are herbaceous, mostly perennial plants (some annual or biennial) growing to 0.5–3 m tall, with simple or branched stems. The leaves are spirally arranged, entire to deeply lobed, 5–25 cm long. The flowers are produced in daisy-like inflorescences, with yellow or orange florets arranged in a prominent, cone-shaped head; “cone-shaped” because the ray florets tend to point out and down (are decumbent) as the flower head opens.

Grow Tips

  • Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.
  • Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. After the first killing frost, cut stems back to an inch or two above soil line. Divide plants every 3 to 4 years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps.

Flower of October and November: Chrysanthemum

What’s in a name: Chrysanthemum combines two words from the Greek language and means Golden Flower.

History: Chrysanthemums have been used and revered by the Chinese since at least the early 15th century, according to the National Chrysanthemum Society USA, “As an herb, it was believed to have the power of life. Legend has it that the boiled roots were used as a headache remedy; young sprouts and petals were eaten in salads; and leaves were brewed for a festive drink.” Continue reading “Flower of October and November: Chrysanthemum”

September Flower of the Month – Aster

What’s in a Name: Aster is both the genus and one of the common names of a most popular flower that ranges from daisy-like to star-like in form. The word Aster originates from the Latin for Star. Other names include Michaelma’s Daisy, Star Wort and Herb of Venus.

History: A popular tale is that Asters come from stardust formed by the tears of Virgo (or Astaea). Aster species (over 600 of them) are found throughout the world and have thus been popular for gardens and gifting for many centuries. They were also used as medicinal plants in many regions and laid upon soldiers graves in France.

Symbolism: true and powerful love, wisdom, faith, valor

Did You Know:
• burning of Asters was thought to ward off snakes in days past
• Asters are very attractive to butterflies
• They are very long lasting as cut flowers
• Asters are cousins to Artichokes
• Asters are an easy care choice for late summer and autumn gardens
• Chinese Asters are the most common type used in florist bouquets

August Flower of the Month – Gladiolus

What’s in a Name:  The genus Gladiolus comes from Latin word “gladius” meaning sword, for the plant’s sword-shaped leaves. Some myths say the flower sprang forth where ever there was bloodshed during battles of Roman Gladiators. A more charming story attributes the name to a Prince named Lolus who rescued and fell in love with a maiden named Glad…the twist being that the evil wizard she was destined to marry turned them both into the flowers we know as Gladiolus! Continue reading “August Flower of the Month – Gladiolus”

August Flower of the Month – Gladiolus

What’s in a Name: The genus Gladiolus comes from Latin word “gladius” meaning sword, for the plant’s sword-shaped leaves. Some myths say the flower sprang forth where ever there was bloodshed during battles of Roman Gladiators. A more charming story attributes the name to a Prince named Lolus who rescued and fell in
love with a maiden named Glad…the twist being that the evil wizard she was destined to marry turned them both into the flowers we know as Gladiolus!

History: Most Gladioli species are native to Africa and all are cousins to Iris. They were first hybridized in the early 1800’s leading to the huge selection of color choices we enjoy in modern gardens and bouquets. Gladioli were also used as medicinal plants in days of yore.
Symbolism: remembrance, calm, integrity, and infatuation

Did You Know?
• A gift of Gladiolus is thought to pierce the recipient’s heart with love
• They also represents sincerity and strength of character
• Other common names include Glads, Corn Flag & Sword Lilies
• The flowers open bottom to top along each stem
• They will stay fresh in a bouquet for up to two weeks
• Fluoride in the water can cause damage to the blooms