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The best gold daisies for small gardens

Val Bourne / 19 July 2012

Val Bourne picks out the best of these vibrant, sunny perennial flowers for your late summer garden, and as these varieties don't run they are ideal for small gardens.

Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne' with Kniphofia 'Prince Igor'
Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne' with Kniphofia 'Prince Igor'

Take care when planting large yellow daisies, as several tall rudbeckias do run and spread at an alarming rate. ‘Miss Mellish’ and Gullickson’s Form’ are two wonderful plants, but not for small places. They are far too invasive.

Most produce yellow flowers between July and September, forming tight clumps. Divide in spring, only if needed, as the perennials reawake following winter. Never divide late-flowering plants in autumn: it is a recipe for disaster.

Break up your sea of yellow with blue, using agastache or Aconitum ‘Spark’s Variety’, or weave through sultry dark-red dahlias like ‘Chat Noir’.

Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘Summer Nights’

This jaunty yellow heliopsis has sultry, upright stems that carry a branching clusters of single yellow daisies, each with a warm orange-red eye. The foliage is dark, like the stems, so this mixes well with dark-leaved dahlias, or prairie planting. ‘Summer Nights’ begins to flower in July, reaches about four feet in height, and comes through hard winters. It forms a tight clump and doesn’t self seed for me. You can raise it from seeds (from Mr Fothergill) although it’s best to find a good plant in a nursery as seedlings could be inferior with paler stems, or greener foliage. A good form is stunning.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii

Warm, glowing yellow flowers with dark brown cones, reaching three feet in height. The best short rudbeckia of all, superior to ‘Goldsturm’ (a seed-raised strain) due to having crisper, flowers in a clearer yellow, not gold, and the rounded foliage is better.

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

A tall freestanding daisy which produces single lemon-yellow flowers with black-flecked middles from mid-August onwards. Can require staking in windy gardens. Tight clump former and raised by Tommy Carlile of the Loddon Nursery in Twyford a nursery that used to stop the traffic on the Twyford Bypass with massed plantings on

Helianthus ‘Loddon Gold’

Fully double, deep-gold flowers with a hint of green. Also introduced by Thomas Carlile around 1920. Requires staking and flowers from late-July to late September reaching 2m in height. Good dark-green foliage.

Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘Light of Loddon’

Also from Tommy Carlile, this neat, upright plant produces a mass of smallish  golden, almost semi-double flowers (90 cm/3ft ).

Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘Waterperry Gold’

Sprays of semi-double flowers in shades that fade from gold to lemon-yellow, between mid-July and early October, reaching just over a metre in height or up to four feet. Go to Waterperry Gardens near Oxford for your plants. May need staking.

Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Goldquelle’

Stiff-stemmed, tall rudbeckia with fully double bright-yellow flowers. Stands up well so no staking required (1m/3ft) .

Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstsonne’

Can reach nine feet/ 3m, yet never needs staking here.  Pointed green cones are surrounded by slight floppy clear-yellow petals on stiff stems above divided foliage. A willowy affair.

Ratibida pinnata (not an AGM)

Tap-rooted prairie plant that begins to flower in July, with dropping lemon petals surrounding a tight brown cone. Delicate flowers that swoon and may need staking.


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