Educational Material

Rudbeckia f. Goldsturm

Every so often I ask my sales people for suggestions on what topics to discuss in these blogs. I value the time that our customers give to reading them and hope to use that time wisely. I am about to stop soliciting suggestions from the sales people and mostly because they want me to tell our customers that we love them. Now then, someone, somewhere, here at the nursery, may love our customers, but I have way too much pride to say the words myself. We like having customers. We aim to treat them well, or well enough so that they come back for more. We prefer to be on good terms so that at trade shows or professional meetings we do not have to duck and hide when we see them, but from here on out I will seek my own council on topics for the Blog.

Rudbeckia ‘Summerblaze’

Another suggestion has been that these blogs should have more educational material along with technical details about what to plant, where and how. I appreciate the optimism by anyone who would expect a straight answer from me on that topic because my universal response, when asked that question, is for the customer to purchase whatever I have too much of that day. I cannot imagine anyone expecting a different answer than that one. That said, we do attempt to grow and offer the latest (and we assume the best) plants. I am reminded of the New Plant Introductions part of the International Plant Propagators Society annual meetings where the person in charge for years would nearly cry during the presentations thinking about the shrub production propagating space being devoted to Golden Vicary Privet instead of some nice mild attractive and definitely not shocking yellow plant.

Rudbeckia ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’

I also wonder why anyone who has the name “landscaper” somewhere on their business would be asking me, a person who has never planted a plant nor has never had any idea about aesthetics, about landscaping, about making the world a prettier place. All that I know is that some plants do well in the sun and some in the shade and some like wet feet. There are winter nursery association meetings to attend to learn about plants and landscaping and design and beauty and all. I recommend doing your own research, maybe visit a few Botanical Gardens here or there.

All of that said here is what I know about Rudbeckias. They are called Black-Eyed Susan, are a gaudy yellow-orange color, and bloom for months from mid-summer to mid-fall. Everyone buys ‘Goldsturm’ and I have no idea why except that it grows from seed and is thus cheap to produce. Years ago I heard somewhere that the variety ‘Summerblaze’ was superior with less septoria leaf spot and so I put lots of it in the field for winter division (it does not come true from seed) and then after ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’ (also a division plant) went off patent I did the same and put them in our catalog and everyone kept on buying ‘Goldsturm’ in spite of my pleas.

Rudbeckia x ‘Glitters Like Gold’

Being naturally stubborn and optimistic—anyone in the nursery business whose goal was getting rich is ipso facto both stubborn and optimistic—I am now going big guns on two of Brent Horvath’s rudbeckia creations: ‘Glitters Like Gold’ PPAF and ‘American Gold Rush’ PP28,498. We have some for sale in containers and a year from now—June 1, 2021—we will have nearly unlimited quantities of liner plugs of these two fine plants except they will not be vernalized, just normal ready to bloom plants without lots of side shoots coming up. That is the way our production cycle works. Give the sales staff a head’s up on these if you are interested.

Rudbeckia x ‘American Gold Rush’

Someday, after calming down some, I will go into detail about attempting to raise the level of consciousness of the landscaping trade by offering improved Perovskias such as ‘Longin’ instead of the species. In the meantime I will be standing on my head in the corner going ‘Om’. OM is the seed mantra of the Third eye Chakra-The Ajna and so it must be good. Will let you know next week.