Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hot Shots

"He loves me... He loves me not..."

Once you become a real freak about gardening, you start noticing some embarassing superstitions. Like the fact that daisies have long predicted my pathetic love life. As little girls, we'd pluck the daisy petals, while repeating that chant, in hopes that the cutest boy in middle school might secretly feel the same way.

In spite of their accurate, negative predictions, I love daisies in any shape or form. Especially the daisy-like blooms of the perennial sunflower family.

Gaillardia grandiflora* is a Western wildflower that has been tamed and hybridized for our gardens. They love hot sun, poor soil and dry conditions. In fact, I've figured out that it is practically impossible to kill them. Which is why they rank pretty high on my list of the 'summer workhorses.'

To keep bright color all summer long, we need a few tireless perennials who just never quit blooming. In that respect, Gaillardia (Goblin or Blanket Flower) are major over-achievers. They blossom in late June, flower until the first frost, attracting a number of unusual butterflies.

Plant these pretty perennials in the hottest spot in your garden and enjoy a summer-long show of bright color.

* Gaillardia grandiflora, USDA zones 4-10, are available from Wayside Gardens and other quality nurseries. Check out their new, exclusive Oranges & Lemons variety.

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