I'm not at all about coffee, no matter how macchiato, but I'm all over this new perennial, Rudbeckia "Cappuccino".
Every year Renee's Seeds offers a selection of free seeds to garden writers, it's a generous gesture with no strings attached. They do hope if we find something that wows us, we will write about it. Well here goes...
I planned to get back into seed starting in a big way this year. Going back to my roots you might say. As life has gotten busier and more complicated, I've turned to nursery-grown plants more and more. Yet I missed the thrill of coaxing tiny seeds into beautiful flowers and vegetables.
I asked my husband to construct a simpler version of my old seed starting set-up. He put together an inexpensive metal shelf with flourescent lights and voila, I was back in business.
Of course, I tried to restrain myself but as always my eyes were bigger than the time and space I had in the garden. This is nothing new to gardeners growing from seed. Furthermore I had to leave town several times and ask my son to water the seedlings. Although he watched over them faithfully some suffered from overcrowding, but this Rudbeckia was unfazed.
In the meantime, the place I had planned to plant "Cappuccino", a new berm, wasn't finished yet, so as they grew bigger, stockier and full of buds, I put them in temporary holding pots that received sporadic care while other life-y things happened.
With more traveling to do, I decided not to do any fall containers. But a trip to the nursery for shrubs found me wandering into the discounted tropical plant area, you know, those 75% off, sad-plant, orphanage-like, no man's land populated with crispy bougainvilleas and yellowing ficus trees (I bought one and now it's thriving).
Looking perfectly healthy and happy, some Heavenly Bamboo with alternately blue-gree and apricot foliage beckoned to me, and I could swear I heard them saying, wouldn't we look great with those rudbeckias and that millet you bought too many of too?
I had never bonded with my large summer entry containers, so I was easily swayed. Keeping the helichrysum and huecheras, then adding the bamboo, millet and rudbeckias, gave me a late summer to autumn transition that makes me smile each time I pull in the driveway now. And eventually they will get planted in the new berm.
The point of all this:
Rudbeckia "Cappuccino" is a gorgeous large-flowered rudebckia that comes in a mix of lovely russet, gold and mahogany with a chocolate brown center. The compact plants are dominated by the prolific blooms. It is drought tolerant, and in my yard, even neglect-tolerant, holding up to wind and less than regular watering. Butterflies love it. Best of all, they are in the easy category for seed starting, and that isn't always the case with perennials.
A much better value than Starbucks and calorie-free to boot.