May 6, 2012

Cottage Garden Goes to the Gold

Coreopsis is surrounded by ground covers with
near-twin blooms of light purple verbena 'Imagination'
and heliotropium amplexicaule.
Shades of pink, purple and blue have dominated my cottage garden over the years. I shook things up a bit this year with addition of bold gold in the form of a native wildflower, coreopsis. Yet, I'm not quite sure of the circumstances. The seed packet (I took a photo) said "coreopsis palmata" (prairie coreopsis), but the flowers look like coreopsis lanceolota to me. What do you think?

Sown from seeds last year, the success rate has been almost overwhelming! While the coreopsis is great for poor soil, given the good soil of the cottage garden, the mounds are huge, full and extra tall (close to three feet high).

There is another possibility regarding the seeds. I sowed a packet of "mixed cottage garden" seeds that included annuals and perennials. Perhaps this coreopsis came from that mix instead? The hint at this possibility is that coreopsis is also growing among hesperis matronalis (Dame's Rocket) that must have come from the mixed packet—along with a barrage of susans (yet to bloom).

Before you all attack me with your gardening hoes, Dame's Rocket is not yet on the invasive list here in North Carolina. The plant is invasive in other states and countries. I'll have to manage it properly to prevent it from escaping the confines of the garden.

The coreopsis blooms have been going strong for at least three weeks, but I've not had to deadhead at this point. Yesterday's heavy rainfall beat the plant down a bit, but it is bouncing back and not drooping too much given the beating.

I've not seen any rabbit damage, but I've not seen any rabbits in the garden so far. There is a feral cat hanging around, not to mention a few black snakes and a hovering red-tailed hawk. This coreopsis is also growing out in the deer resistant garden and I have seen many deer. So far, so good.

I'll let the coreopsis grow as a test this year. If it performs well, I may just let it remain in the cottage garden. I have enough already, so I will deadhead the coreopsis and not let it go to seed.

As for the color gold—right now, I'm enjoying the glowing brightness among the purple blooms.

Coreopsis with Dame's Rocket (invasive in some areas).
Coreopsis with purple larkspur
(and buds of purple cornflower, not yet opened).
The "back side" of the coreopsis as viewed from the porch after the rain.
The "faces" of the coreopsis follow the sun, just like sunflowers.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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