12 October 2013

Mutants

There is one in every crowd. In every neighborhood. In every rudbeckia bed? A black sheep that stands out.

This summer the third-year bed of rudbeckia (Rudbeckia hirta) sprouted a few mutant plants. I am not sure if these germinated from seed, or were one of the survivors mutating after their overwinter thing. Do these reseed themselves? Do buckets of pulled-up rudbeckia seedlings grace my compost every weekend in the spring?

The new blooms that appeared were dark bronze and mahogany, and a little yellow near the tips. These were growing in a sea of yellow rudbeckia.

When the blooms begin to fade, they dry at the tips and turn crispy, curling up. This happens on the yellow too, but the yellow color disguises it. The dark color emphasizes it. Right now, the rudbeckia is looking a little ragged at the end of the season.

I think I must go with the seed explanation. In reading the online information, I learn black-eyed susans are known as prolific seeders, and easily cross-breed. So, these must be the illegitimate offspring from someone in the neighborhood, maybe courtesy of the bumble bees?

For The Record:
  • Medium clay soil with organic amendments, on sloping yard
  • Mostly full sun
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • Aphid pests in the spring


Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: Marigolds, mexican zinnia, canna, rudbeckia, zinnia, asters
  • Harvested: 2 peppers, 1 carrot

4 comments:

J Clark said...
I kind of like the contrast.
Casa Mariposa said...
I think they're beautiful and a fun surprise. I'd let them go to seed and maybe they'll pop up again next year.
Swimray said...
I like them too. I wish there were more, and together in one spot. Hoping they will come back next year.
Patrick said...
I love the volunteers and I really love genetics in action. Had a blast as a kid with a packet of generic coneflower seed from Park and witnessed all the diversity and saved my favorites.