Coreopsis seemed to be popping up everywhere in the 1990's as the latest fad; one to fulfill the persistent low-maintenance, drought-tolerant quest. I soon saw many new coreopsis on the market, and some appealed to me. I gave Autumn Blush a tryout [posted 2010.06.08]. Although taking its sweet old time to emerge every spring, it is attractive and reliably blooms all season. In that same year, a neighbor gave away this coreopsis at our plant swap. She purchased it (Coreopsis auriculata 'Nana') but found its cultural requirements were not what she expected, and gave it up. Lucky me.
It has spread and bloomed every year, even surviving a major relocation. No pests or diseases bother it. Well, maybe there's a little mildew in late autumn. What seems to set Nana apart is its thick carpet of dense green leaves and the way it holds its blooms. The glowing 1-inch (3 cm) orange blossoms are held above the dark foliage on very thin stems. This makes the blossoms appear to float above the leaf clump hugging the ground.
The orange flowers burst out in spring, tapering off through the summer. Maybe some deadheading would help that.
Coreopsis is also called tickseed. The name coreopsis derives from Greek meaning 'bedbug' - because the seed on spent flowers look like bedbugs? I don't think so on this plant - I am not letting dead blossoms linger this year so there are no photos of them.
For some reason, last year it threw up a healthy litter of leaves, but few flowers. I thought this might be due to overcrowding, and gave it a buzz cut last fall. That did the trick. Even though the 16 inch diameter (40 cm) clump still looks very thick, there are more blooms this year. Sometimes we need a little tough love.
For The Record:
Clay soil improving with organic amendments
No serious pests/disease
Blooming: Bearded iris, coreopsis, salvia, tradescantia,
california poppy, rose