PLANT OF THE WEEK
Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’ (Blanket flower)
Why you should plant it
If you need to have a midsummer “pinch-me” kind of perennial that will astound most visitors, this Gaillardia or Blanket flower will be deeply satisfying. If it’s your first time with this plant, be cautious – it must be placed carefully. Although it doesn’t look great in massive drifts or even in great blobs, a discreet three or five next to a fluffy plant such as coreopsis will make a spectacular combination that will blaze onward into autumn with regular deadheading (removing the spent flowers).
Where to plant it
This Zone 4 plant requires full sun and full sun means just that: six full hours of sunlight. You can’t get real action out of this plant without that much exposure. Although it doesn’t like wet clay soil, it will thrive in a fairly dry hot spot, making it ideal for prairie gardens; it’ll also function as a nice edger, growing from 20 to 30 centimetres (and spreading about 30 to 40). After it’s established, it will be drought-tolerant.
What it offers:
A brilliant flash of gold and fiery red that fits the temper of this time of year – hot and sultry – perfectly. The deer and bunnies won’t snack on it either. And it’ll be a considerable magnet for butterflies.
Source: Find it for about $17 at nurseries nationwide, including Hole’s Greenhouses and Gardens (www.holesonline.com) in St. Albert, Alta.
Visit www.marjorieharris.com for more gardening and plant information.