The Coreopsis, sometimes known as Calliopsis in its annual forms, is a hardy, reliable garden plant almost as easily grown as a weed! Brilliant masses of gold, orange or mahogany daisies insure them a strong place in the perennial border.
They are excellent on the coast and thrive in poor, stony ground. In rich, moist soils they may become more vegetative and flop. C. grandiflora Is a robust hybrid growing into large clumps of wiry stems topped with yellow daisies creating masses of bloom from late spring until winter.
Several related species have conspicuous dark eyes. C. tinctoria, the tickseed, Is an annual form with bronze, gold and yellow markings. Coreopsis look excellent planted in groups or beds near the middle or back of the border.
They look great with delphinium, shasta daisy, and larkspur. Dwarf bedding varieties work well with golden rudbeckia, red and blue salvias, or with a groundcover of verbena. Seed, seedlings, root cuttings or divisions planted now will begin flowering in late spring.
Divisions, cuttings and seed can also be planted in spring to start flowering in summer and autumn.
Larkspur was once considered to be a delphinium and is still often sold as delphinium consolida. But today this delightful cottage garden classic has been reclassified into it’s own genus known as Consolida ambigua.
These hardy annuals or biennials are native to southern Europe flowering in the fields where the meadowlark sings. Their name Is said to have come from the resemblance of the flower spur to the back claw of the lark.
Bright green, ferny foliage covers stout stems up to the flower spikes that can reach l.5m in tall varieties.
Colours include white, blue, purple, and pink shades in single and double forms. These brilliant cutfiowers also dry well for winter arrangements or potpourri. Provide full sun, good air circulation and a soil that drains freely.
Very rich soils can cause more vegetative growth or rot If they stay very moist. Add plenty of garden lime or dolomite prior to planting. Stake in windy sites. Seed planted in permanent sites now will flower in late spring and early summer.
Germination and early growth may be slow at first as the plants develop a strong root system before much top growth begins. Seedlings are often difficult to transplant.
When buying advanced seedlings In punnets divide carefully or plant the entire punnet and let each plant spread outward to form an impressive clump. Keep well weeded and feed regularly especially once growth starts to rocket skyward in spring.
Seed can also be planted in late winter for summer blooms. Larkspur and coreopsis make hardy, reliable companions near the back of the garden border and will reward those that care for them with months of spectacular colour and cut flowers.