Each year, the National Garden Bureau chooses a variety of plants to feature. They explain on their website, "Each year we select one annual, one perennial and one edible as our 'Year of the' crops. Each is chosen because they are popular, easy-to-grow, widely adaptable, genetically diverse, and versatile."
They’ve chosen 2015 as "The Year of the Gaillardia" and we couldn’t be more thrilled. We love this versatile, easy-to-grow perennial for a variety of reasons. This native plant boasts daisy-shaped flowers that ignite the garden in all shades of red, orange, and yellow. They delight in the summer garden through the fall, providing a bounty of blooms even in extreme heat and drought.
The National Garden Bureau explains the story behind Gaillardia’s common name, Blanket Flower. "Legend has it that a native American weaver was so good at her craft that when she died, her grave was blanketed with flowers colored as brilliantly as the blankets she had made."
The boldly-colored, bright blooms make a statement in almost any garden. The National Garden Bureau talks more about the perennial gem.
Gaillardias are unparalleled companions to ornamental grasses and you don’t need many to make an impact. They also work well as bright, long-flowering fillers in young shrub beds. As the shrubs mature, they’ll replace these short-lived perennials when their time is up.
In borders, mass single varieties of compact gaillardias along the front, or plant taller ones in bold groups separated from other flowering perennials by plants that have gray foliage or blue or white flowers, which provide a cooling buffer between hot-colored gaillardia flowers and their neighbors. Use cool-colored plants as companions for containerized gaillardias too.
A few gaillardias also deserve a place in every cut flower garden. Just be prepared to stake the tall ones so they don’t flop.
The National Garden Bureau
Wondering if you could grow Gaillardia in your garden? As long as you have full sun and well-draining soil, Gaillardia will thrive in your landscape. Blooming in June through frost, remember to deadhead flowers as they fade to prolong the life of the plants. This perennial thrives in almost any hardiness zone and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Many varieties also thrive in containers, making this the perfect choice for a small space or container garden.