March 17, 2010

Pick Your Favorite Color of Blanket Flower

Not your mother's blanket flower! No longer the ordinary orange and gold, blanket flowers (gaillardia) are available in a wide range of colors. From experience, I've learned to purchase gaillardias only when I can see the actual bloom color.

Great for a long bloom season, drought, deer and rabbit resistance, gaillardias are very reliable in my garden. I'm not a collector, really!

The quest for solid color "daisy shape" plants that the deer and rabbits won't eat led me to the gaillardia. Blanket flowers are quite at home in hot, dry locations and require no pampering. If deadheaded, they will rebloom again and again. If not deadheaded, the bi-color varieties will seed everywhere. I wouldn't mind it if the solid colors would seed around, too!

Gaillardia aestivalis var. winkleri 'Grape Sensation'
Zones 7-9
18 inches high x 3 feet wide
Full sun

This grape is sensational with salvia 'Diane', cottage pinks (dianthus) and stachys 'Helen von Stein'. I gathered seeds from the grape last fall and divided the plant with the idea to eventually fill up one bed with this combination. It's still too early to know if the seeds germinated. Until I have enough for a mass planting, lavender 'Grosso' and a few purple to deep pink agastache are in this section of the garden.

Gaillardia 'Yellow Queen'
Zones 3-10
18 inches high x 18 inches wide
Full sun

This yellow gaillardia is planted with salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue' in several locations as well as mixed with purple verbena bonariensis, nepeta 'Walkers Low' and achillea 'Cornation Moonshine' in another location. I collected and purchased seeds to see if all will bloom true to color.

Gaillardia 'Tokajer'
Zones 3-9
16 inches high x 12 inches wide
Full sun

Gaillardia 'Tokajer' disappeared last year, but I found it again when moving perennials in the fall. The location was too shaded, so I had only a few blooms. I have moved it to a sunny spot with other orange as well as purple perennials.

Gaillardia 'Tizzy'
Zones 3-9
18 inches high x 3 feet wide
Full sun

I really like the deep orange color on 'Tizzy' as well as the fluted petals. This gaillardia blooms almost non-stop. Last year, I kept it separated from other orange bi-color gaillardias to make sure it consistently bloomed the same color. I just moved it up to the butterfly garden with salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna', agastache 'Navajo Sunset', agastache 'Purple Haze' and echinacea 'Sundown. There are also purple alliums, Homestead Purple verbena and a few other plants—based on purple and orange—in the same section of the garden. I have high hopes for continued success with this one.

Gaillardia 'Burgundy'
Zones 3-9
24 inches high x 12 inches wide
Full sun

Another fabulous bloomer, 'Burgundy' is great with coreopsis, especially 'Red Shift'. I'm using this gaillardia in a garden bed based on blue, dark red and yellow. Other perennials include achillea 'Moonshine', blue flax and agastache 'Blue Fortune'. I plan to add salvia 'Mystic Spires' blue to the area. This is definitely a keeper, so I've also planted both collected and purchased seeds of this one to try for a mass planting.

So where is the old gold and orange gaillardia? At the feet of monarda 'Jacob Cline', crocosmia 'Lucifer' and salvia 'Navajo Bright Red'. Every time I see a gaillardia bloom bi-color, I dig it up and move it to the same location. I should have a rather big mass planting this year!



Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks/copyrights/patents owned by those respective companies or persons.

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

My name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. A freelance garden and travel writer with roots in technology/marketing strategy at SAS Institute Inc. I'm loving my life whether at home, in the garden or traveling. I garden in harmony with bees, butterflies and....deer and rabbits! Zone 7b. My wonderful husband (aka "The Musician") helps with the heavy lifting.

My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

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