Gaillardia ‘Oranges and Lemons’

Late October last year, I was taking Barney (my adorable golden retriever) for his morning walk when I noticed a Gaillardia putting out blooms as if it was still August. That’s pretty impressive! Since that time, Gaillardia has been on the list of plants I want for my sunny border. It seems I’m not the only one that feels that way. Each time I stop into a garden center, I look to see what compact Gaillardia’s they have. Most often their stock is low or they don’t have a variety that strikes my fancy. I’m envisioning a swath of them. Their bold blooms will provide wonderful contrast to the fine foliaged plants I tend to gravitate toward. It’s probably too late for this year (though I’ll keep checking).

According to the PlantHaven Web site, ‘Oranges and Lemons’ (US Plant Patent: #17,092) is truly a stellar performer!

Photo courtesy of PlantHaven

“It is super long-blooming, extremely floriferous (up to 75 blooms per plant at a single time), and easy-to-grow! This determined perennial will grow in poor soil and withstand heat, humidity and even drought once established. ‘Oranges and Lemons’ was chosen as one of Garden Design’s “Way Hot 100” exciting plants for 2006.

“Bred in England by Rosemary Hardy, ‘Oranges and Lemons’ arose in the summer of 2002 at the inventor’s nursery in Hampshire, England as a single chance seedling. ‘Oranges and Lemons’ presents a unique color variation in Gaillardias. Rather than the typical bright red and yellow flowers, ‘Oranges and Lemons’ looks just like it sounds — large, peachy orange flowers with yellow tips and a gold central cone. The blue-green foliage enhances this warm coloring and the round, chartreuse seed heads extend the interest after the flowers are spent. Each flower is 4-6 inches wide and is 25% larger than its parent. The overall height and habit of a mature plant is taller and more upright and erect than other Gaillardias.

“The bushy, upright plants are the perfect size for the middle of the perennial border or as container plants and the flowers are great for bouquets. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid this particular Gaillardia, but the plant is attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds.

“Gaillardia is named for Frenchman Gaillard de Charentonneau, according to Flora: A Gardener’s Encyclopedia. The species was discovered in the Rocky Mountains around 1825. Gaillardia’s common name, blanket flower, is named for a Native American legend of a blanket maker’s grave that was covered with ever-blooming flowers – a gift from the spirits.”

Hardy to USDA Zone 6. Grows in full sun with moderate water and good drainage.