As has been the case in recent weeks, choosing the contents of today’s vase was not an easy one, although with two additional posies required for people or places at the same time I could at least share more of the bounty which, I am pleased to say, included rejuvenated sweet peas for the very first time. For IAVOM, however, it is The Eyes: a vaseful of rudbeckia, known by some as black-eyed Susan.
I have never had any success with perennial rudbeckia, but do grow a number of annual varieties and picked freely amongst them for this vase: Marmalade, Irish Eyes, Rustic Dwarf, Sahara and Cherry Brandy. The first three germinate and thrive well, but germination of Cherry Brandy is always an unknown quantity, and this proved to be the case with Sahara too, my first year of growing it. Anna of Green Tapestry kindly helped out with more seed of the latter after 2 sowings had failed, but I still only managed a couple of plants, about the same as Cherry Brandy. I noticed that the Sarah Raven packet of Sahara recommended sowing seed on the surface and not covering it, which I will definitely try again next year with these 2 recalcitrant but attractive varieties. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Joining the rudbeckia are spent stems of honeysuckle and annual Leonorus sibiricus, the latter adding vertical structure and the former foliage and a hint of red from the berries to pick out the russets amongst the blooms. A yellow spotty jug, my first choice of receptacle, was then rejected in favour of this drip-glazed jug-like mug which proved more in keeping with the chrome yellows and earthier tones of the rudbeckias – some with black eyes, others with green and brown, but none of them as startling as the piercing blue eyes of the prop, positioned so you are not forced to look into them directly which I suspect is not to be recommended….
Some blooms are more hard-won than others, but if you have blooms you can bear to cut to bring inside and pop in a vase then please do consider sharing them with us on IAVOM, leaving the usual links so we can share the pleasure they bring you.