Rudbeckia in bloom at the Shawnee Indian Mission
Butterfly Garden – Shawnee Indian Mission

In August when my garden is lanky, its colors fading, and some flowers have started to brown, all around I see Black-Eyed Susans powering up the blooms. 

Rudbeckia in bloom
These rudbeckia are in a neighbor’s yard.
Rudbeckia - Westwood Hills, KS

Our HOA did its best to eliminate everything but begonias and liriope from these entrance plantings.

Naturalized Rudbeckia
Still, she persisted.

The sight of these big golden beauties feels like being smiled at.  Wherever they are, Black-eyed Susans look good.

Back in March when I planned for summer I predicted I’d feel this way, so my order included five rudbeckia subtomentosa (Sweet Black-eyed Susan). They’ve outgrown the surrounding plants and flopped over, like an adolescent whose nose grew faster than the rest of his face.

rudbeckia subtomentosa

My go-to guide, Roy Diblik’s The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden, says they’ll be ten to 18 inches—in late spring. I must have overlooked the next line, which says they may reach up to 72” when in bloom.  Uh-oh. How did I make that mistake? Didn’t he say the bottom of each garden plan represents the front of the garden?  Did I have it backwards?

Everything will be okay.  As Diblik says, “As the planting matures, keep evaluating the relationships among its members.” I can always move them.

Still, I covet color. Although August isn’t the best time to plant here, and although I maxed out my garden budget months ago, I broke down and bought a couple plants at Suburban last week. These are Rudbeckia fulgida, Little Goldstar, a more compact variety. 

The rabbits munched them down to stems.

So now they’re encased in wire cages. No worries!  They’ll be back. In the meantime, the lanky plants I planted in spring have begun to flower.

The closed petals look like little yellow baskets.