I've written about my annual ritual of choosing a few new varieties of both flowers and vegetables for the garden. I'm growing heirloom bean seeds, potatoes and horseradish in the vegetable garden; three new plants to explore and learn. The flower garden saw the addition of Monarda, Bee Balm, and a new hybrid Gaillardia called "Punch Bowl." (Blogger isn't cooperating with my attempts to add pictures, so I am using Amazon instead; I'll post an original photo when the service is working well.)
I didn't know much about Gaillardia when they came with a Spring Hill Gardening catalog kit that I purchased to fill in the bare clay soil next to the driveway that morphed into the flower garden. I noted where the catalog company suggested planting it, popped it into the ground, watered it and thought nothing further about it. Soon the plants rewarded me with abundant sunny orange and yellow flowers. Puffball seed heads resembling dandelions nodded on the low-growing foliage in the fall. The next year, I had double the number of Gaillardia, plus Gaillardia growing among the gravel rocks in the driveway and off into the woods. Prolific? Meet Gaillardia.
I've moved plants around the garden, collected and shared seeds with friends, and pulled them up by the roots. Nothing phases them. They grow where most plants won't, don't need a lot of water, and bloom almost continuously once they get stared.
Feeling a bit tired of the orange and reds, though, I perked up when I saw the beautiful pink and purple hybrid advertised in a seed catalog. I purchased the seeds and started them this spring. This week, the first two plants bloomed...and was I in for a surprise.
The pink one? Yes, that's what it's supposed to look like.
But guess what? I've also got some ruffled lemon yellow ones growing right next to it, and a few orange and yellows from the same seed package!
I am guessing that Gaillardia is one of those plants that just crosses so easily or reverts to its origins that nobody could guarantee an entire package of one color of seeds. Since my garden is a crazy quilt of color, I really don't mind. In fact, it's become an adventure to find new colors in the garden beds. I plan to collect the seeds and share them with my gardening friends at Christmas...but I can't guarantee the color!