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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Gaillardia aristata

I first discovered these jolly flowers growing in a pot at Wallingford station on the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway- a preserved former Great Western Railway branchline. How quintessentially English you might think but they originate from the US and are named for M. Gaillard de Charentonneau, an 18th-century French magistrate. They cope well with poor, dry soil and don't need much attention - ideal for me!

My first attempt was with Gaillardia aristata 'Goblin' which you can find in seed shops everywhere. It does grow rather tall (60cm) and flop so I'm trying a couple of remedies:

  1. In early May, I sheared the top off the plants reducing them to around 15cm
  2. I've got some seeds for a variety called 'Arizona Sun'. The flowers are very similar but the plant only grows to around 30cm
You can buy them in Garden Centres but if like the idea of drift of them, that's a bit expensive.Growing your own from seed is medium difficult. Warmth is needed to get the seeds and young plants started. Plant out after frosts have ended. They do survive a frosty Winter although not completely reliably. Some of mine died - right next to others that survived. It's probably worth harvesting the seed and sowing some in February each year


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